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Trial of Dr, John Howell, 18-29 Dec 1721, p.1

Trials – Dr. John Howell, 18-29 Dec 1721

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Islands ss.


At A Council held on Monday the 18th December 1721 at the Court House in Nassau on N. Providence



His Excellcy Geo. Phenney Esqr. Govr.

James Gohier

William Fairfax

Thomas Walker

P. G. P. Skynner

Ch. W. Carrington    > Esqrs.

Natha. Taylor

Peter Courant

Willm. Spatchers

Joseph Cookes

Thomas Wood


A Petition of Mr. John Howell Lieutenant in the Independant Company garrisoned here, was presented to the Board and read, praying an especial Commission might be granted to examine Witnesses in order that his Person and Character might be clear'd from a certain Calumny cast upon Him by Mr. Gohier.

Upon debate of the Matter before the Board Mr. Gohier and Mr. Walker in express and plain Words did charge sd Mr. Howell with Pyracy, Mr. Walker affirming to the Board that since Mr. Howell had movd the Matter first, it would be easie to prove the sd Mr. Howell a Pyrate.

Mr. Gohier then told the Board that he had sent an Account by Letter to England, that Mr. Howell was a Pyrate, and ought not to have the King's Commission, And in fine undertook to prove Him to have been a Pirate before the Board.

Mr. Carrington then said This a Charge of a grievous & high Nature which You have made & undertaken to prove to this Board, And such a Charge that every of this Board is obliged to take notice of , And for my part I think I canot acquit myself to my Country or King, if I should slip an Opportunity to punish an offense of this Kind, And I am the rather persuaded to believe it too true against Mr. Howell, when two Gentn. of this Board, and One of them the Chief Justce. of these Islands, have openly charg'd sd Howell to have been guilty of Pyracy, and undertaken to prove it to this Board.

Order'd therefore that upon the Accusation & Charge aforesaid a Warrant issue to take & seize sd Howell for sd Crime of Pyracy, And that He be forthwith proceeded against and brought to a Tryal for sd. Offense.


Ajourn'd during his Excellcys. pleasure.


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At a Council held on Tuesday 19 December 1721 at the Court House.




His Excellcy. the Governor

James Gohier                Cha. W. Carrington

William Fairfax               Natha. Taylor

Thomas Walker              Peter Courant                > Esqrs.

P. G. P. Skynner           William Spatchers

                                    Joseph Cookes



His Excellency the Governor requird that a Committee be appointed to examine the Evidence against Mr. Howell, to prepare Matters for his Tryal

Accordingly a Committee of the Council were appointed viz:

William Fairfax

Ch. W. Carrington

P. G. P. Skynner


And all others of the Council who think fit may also be of the orderd Comittee, And that they do meet de die in Diem, and have Power to send for Persons, Papers and Records &tc.






22 December 1721


The Comittee sat at the Court House


William Fairfax

Cha. W. Carrington                 > Esqrs.

Pedro Galfrido Parabow Skynner


Mr. Gohier who had accusd Mr. Howel of Pyracy presented to the Comittee the Names of four Persons whom He requird to be sworn, and examined on the Part of the King vizt.


Richard Noland

Willm. Howard [former Quartermaster for Hornigold and then Quartermaster for Edward Thache in the Queen Anne’s Revenge]

Robt. Brown &

Pearce Wright


And also informed the Comittee that He had other Material Witnesses in Town which Should attend upon Summons.

Richard Noland Inhabitant & Mariner of N Providence being sworn deposd, that He has known sd John Howell upwards of four Years when belonging to the Sloop Bennet, Beja. Hornigold Comander & Pirate, And then understood from one Pierce Wright Mariner belonging to sd. Sloop Bennet, that He sd Wright together with one William Howard Quartr. Msr. and others of the same Crew forcibly took sd John Howell from on board a certain Snow belonging to Jamaica, Blake Comander, to serve on board sd Sloop Bennet as Surgeon.

Sd. Hornigold afterward took two Dutch Ships at what Time Mr. Howell was on board Sloop Bennet, But the sd Noland often heard Mr. Howell express a Dislike to the Pyratical Manner of the Living, and knows that sd Howell attempted several Times to escape but was too narrowly watcht, being the only good Surgeon whom Hornigold & Company had Dependance on.

Rd. Noland farther deposd that at the Time when the Bennet & Mary Ann Crew came from Harbour Island to Providence in quest of a Boat each wanting One, The Mary Anne Capt. Bonadvis Crew being very strenuous to take John Howell for their Surgeon; who had left Hornigold and livd then upon the Island, sd. Howell applyed himself to sd. Noland complaining that He would rather serve the English than French, if He was compelld to make choice of Either, Accordingly went with the Crew of Hornigold a Second Time but not without seeming Reluctancy.

Rd Noland also observd that during his belonging to Hornigold, He saw one Hogshead of pyratical Sugar put on board a Sloop belonging to Neal Walker, And believes there might have been several More, for afterwards the sd Noland saw four or five empty Sugar Hogsheads on the Shore of a certain Key where Mr. Walker Senr. the present Chief Justice & Father of the sd Neal Walker then liv'd.

The Question being askt whether John Howell receiv'd any Share during his being with Hornigold.

Sd Noland answerd, That Hornigold demanded of Him (in absence of the Quarter Msr.) the Share belonging to John Howell, but knows not whether Mr. Howell receivd it from sd Hornigold; But sd Noland paid Mr. Howell a certain Reward for the Cure of a free Mulatto belonging to Hornigold; And that it was propos'd to give certain broken plate Buttons to the Surgeons, but who receivd them could not tell, But afterwards saw the sd Plate in the hands of one Billington another Surgeon also on Boardee the sd Sloop.

William Howard, late Qr. Mastr. on board Hornigold being sworn deposd that He has known Mr. Howard about five Years, And that at what Time sd Hornigold met a Snow come from Jamaica, Benja. Blake Comander; off Cape Florida; and wanting a Surgon, He the sd Howard with nine others arm'd went on board sd Blake, and thence forced sd Howell with his Medicines to serve on board sd Hornigold.

Also declard that the sd Howell never receivd any Share for any Prize taken; But always entreated the Crew of Hornigold to put Him sd Howell on any Shore where there was any Government, particularly at a certain Time meeting with a Vessel whereout sd Hornigold had taken what he Wanted, sd Howell desird of Him to permitt him to escape, but was not sufferd,. Howard also remember'd that when He and others aforesd. forct Mr. Howell from Captain Blake, that Mr. Howell desird sd Blake to do Him Justice in declaring to his Friends how He was forct.

Robert Brown Inhabitant being sworn sayth, that He has known Mr. John Howell seven or eight Years, first in Cork in Ireland; And the sd Brown since belonging to the Sloop Bennet one Hickinbottom Comander was met with by Hornigold & Knapping two Pirates off of Friends Islands near Peurto Bello, the latter of which took them, and a Chest of Gold belonging to the Assiento Company. Hornigold exchanging his Sloop Adventure for the Bennet gave Leave to Captn. Hickinbottom to go for Jamaica, at what Time Mr. Howell being Surgeon to Hornigold press'd him very much to have Leave to go with him sd Brown his Townsman to Jamaica, And Hornigold upon those repeated Entreatys gave him Leave, who thereupon put his Cloaths Books &tc on board the Sloop Adventure, But the Crew of sd Hornigold seeing Howell's Intention prevented Him by forcing him to Stay.

The sd Brown also declard, that he has heard Hornigolds Quarter Mr. John Martin swear that Howell should go when Mr. Howell went the Second Time; And that Hornigold took two Dutch Ships, but knows not of any Share either given or allotted sd Howell, or Reward for taking carew of the sick, there Medicines belonging to the Crew, But very well knows Mr. Howell was frequently praying to be dischargd.

Pearce Wright Mariner being sworn saith, that He belongd to Captain Hornigold, and was one of the Boat's Crew that forct sd Howell from Captn. Blake, And well remembers that Mr. Howell prayd at that time Capt. Blake to certifie to the World the manner of his being forct, being much troubld at his Misfortune.

And knows nothing of Mr. Howell's receiving and Dividend or Share of any Prize taken. But further deposd that He was one of the Crew, who with Hornigold, order'd John Martin Qr Mr. when He came down to Providence to bring Mr. Howell with Him, and that He saw sd Howell when He went.

Then Mr. Howell desiring that such Evidences as He had ready might be heard.

William Pindar Inhabitant being sworn declar'd that Mr. Howell lodging at his House there came certain Pirates to his House saying they came for a Hogshead of Rum, wch they said Howell had threatening to cut Him with a Cutlass, whereupon Pindar answer'd Them, that Howell had but a Gallon wch He had bought for Him in Town. The sd Pirates being very rude and threatening to carry away Mr. Howell, thereupon sd Howell wth Tears in his Eyes told Pindar that He would rather choose to go wth Hornigold than those French Men who dealt so hardly with Him. And went from sd Pindar's House to Benja. Saunders to make Complaint to Richard Noland. Sd Pindar further observd that Mr. Howell often exprest an earnest Desire to get ?? seeming to dislike his Condition amongst the Pirates. And knows nothing of sd Howel's being forct a second Time to go with Hornigold, or of Mr. Howell's receiving any Share at any Time.         Signed Wm. Pindar

Robert Hawkes Inhabitant being also sworn, declar'd that He has known Mr. Howell abt four Years, And that belonginge to Hornigold was one of the Crew that came down for a Boat and finding certain Crew belonging to Bonadvis endeavouring to force sd Howell to go wth sd Bonadvis Crew, Mr. Howell said He would rather go with Hornigold where He might sooner expect to get clear of sd Life, And further said He heard John Martin Qr Mr to Hornigold swear, Howell should go with Him to Hornigold at Harbour Island, but did not observe any did forcibly put him into the Boat, Altho sd Qr Mr. did threaten to burn the House that harbourd Him.

Sd Hawkes knows of no Share Mr. Howell ever receiv'd for any Prize or Goods taken, only some broken pieces of Silver, for curing a Mulatto.

And remembers That when Bonadvis demanded Howell of Hornigold was answerd, if Howell was willing He should have him for Surgeon, But Mr. Howell Then answerd, He would not go with Bonadvis, because He would never expect to get cleare.

Edward Carr Mariner being sworn, declard that He has known Mr. Howell about four years, first when forct from Capt. Blake, And knows of no Share, sd Howell ever receivd, or of his being forct a Second Time.


(continued on page 2)

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