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Memorial for Suppressing the Pirates at Madagascar—Dec 1709

Memorial – Pirates at Madagascar - Dec 1709

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ADD MS 61590 - [Dec. 1709]          114


A Memorial for Suppressing the Pirates att Madagascar & Preventing their further Piracies & Depredations & for other considerable Services herein Mention'd Humbly offerd to the Queens most Excellent Majestie in Council by Peregrine Lord Marquess of Carmarthen…*


The subscriber understaning what great Depredations & Piracies now daily are & for several Years past have been comitted on the Goods & Effects of Yr. Maj. Subjects & on these of all the Mahometans & Heathens Trading too & in the East Indies by a great Number of Pirates or Freebooters residing at Madagascar who doe openly declare themselves Protestants & are for the most part Nations of Great Brittain to the great prejudice at present & utmost danger for the future of our Trade both in the East & West Indies & to the great Scandal & Dishonour of our Religion & Nation.

And understanding further that since the said Pirates have obtained great Riches their Affection (which is natural even to the worst of Men) for their native Countrey is so reviv'd in them (and that more especially on the Account They have receiv'd of Yr. Maj.ts most mercifull Disposition & glorious Reign) as makes them most earnestly desirous to return to their Duty & Allegiance, & to lay out their Money & settle themselves in Great Brittain if encouraged thereunto by Yr. Maj.ts most Gracious Pardon & Powerfull Protection which with Submission is the only way left to suppress them it being demonstrable that all Attempts to reduce them by Force at that distance are impracticable without an Expense too great to be mentioned or thought on.

The Subcriber reflecting on the aforesaid & on other matters (relating to the same Affair) of great Moment to Yr. Maj.ts Service, And being moved with an Ambition of extending the Effects of Yr. Maj.ts most Glorious Reign to the remotest parts & being desirous in order thereunto to obviate all objections against it that might arise at ?? from the miscarriages or misfortunes of former Undertakers did case a printed Paper Entitled __ Reasons for Reducing the Pirates of Madagascar &ca. to be deliver'd to the Members of the House of Commons upon which there was a Comittee appointed to Examine the Allega?? thereof And bring well satisfied therewith The said Comittee made their Report to the House accordingly whereupon the Hours came to the following Resolution..

Resolved _

That an Humble Address be represented to her Maj.ties that Th?? will be Graciously pleas'd to take into her Royal Consideration how Pirates at Madagascar may be suppressed & their further Piracies Robberies & Depradations may be Effectually prevented.

That the said Address be presented to her Maj.tis by such Members of this House as are of Her Maj.ts most honorble.. Privy Council.

Now so it is may it please Yr. Maj.tis that since by the Zeal Solicitation & Industry of the Subscriber this matter comes thus recomended to Yr. Maj.tis by Yr. People he hopes that if Yr. Maj.tis doth desire any further Information in the Remises Yr. Maj.tis will be pleased to cause the said printed Paper (which is hereunto Annex'd) to be examined and considered before Yr. Maj.tis & will also order that the said Subscriber be permitted to answer any objection that is or shall be made against this Proposal & allow him to lay before Yr. Maj.ties some further & very considerable Inducements hereafter mentioned for the undertaking this matter which was omitted in the said printed Paper least they being made publick might give The French or others an opportunity preventing the Design which without such Notice may be easily effected The Heads whereof are as followeth Vizt...

The Island of Don Mascarenhas lyes very near Madagascar, & is now in possession of the French who have only one small Fortification & about 150 Families many of them formerly Pirates who tho' now settled there doe frequently under pretence of belonging to the English Pirates of Madagascar comit Piracies under English Colours by which & their correspondency with the Pirates of Madagascar they are grown very Rich. This Island may be easily taken & plunder'd (& if Yr. Maj.tie shall think fitt) by a small Garison being left there will be of great use to our .. East India Shipping [heavy imperialism].

The Arabians of Muscat have about 20 Sail of Ships

         1 of 70 Gunns

         1 of 50 Gunns

         The rest of them of small Force.

These Shipps goe either as Men of War or Merchant Men and are become almost universal Pirates taking all Nations but the Dutch (who are too strong in those Seas to be insulted [tho we would if we could?])[.] They have within Four Years past taken 3 or 4 English Ships & have now about 30 English Men in Slavery & have invaded the Sea Port Towns of Persia to the great prejudice of our Trade there & damage to the Persians who (as this Subscriber is inform'd) have some time since desired Assistance from England to suppress them.

These Arabians are possess'd of Mombasa, Patta & some other places on the East Coast of Africa all which are places of Rich Trade & but of small strength & Muscat it self more especially is a place of considerable Trade & great Riches & of no great strength for which.. Reasons the Squadron of Yr. Maj.ts Ships hereafter proposed will be a sufficient strength to take & plunder all those places & wholy to destroy their Shipping to redeem the English there out of a miserable Slavery & also to conclude such a Treaty as may be for Yr. Maj.ts honour[,] The safety of Yr. Trading Subjects & the security of the Dominions of the King of Persia more especially when reinforced by the Rovers of Madagascar (who are well acquainted with all those places & will be most ready to serve Yr. Maj.tie on that Expedition) by reason that tho the Muscat Ships are so many in number yet are they so inconsiderable a sort of Shipping their Gunns of so mean a nature & their Men well known to be a most undisciplin'd Cowardly sort of People, & their Ships are never above 4 or 5 together but when at home at which time they are always so linckt together in a hole that it is most easy to burn them with a few open Boats.

If Mombasa should be taken it may be easily kept for Yr. Maj.ties use & prove a place of great Importance to Trade in East India and an honour to Yr. Maj.tie to have in Yr. Hands a place of that consequence on that vast Coast where English Dutch or French have not nor ever had any Fort Factory or Settlement & would be well worth the whole Charge of this Expedition to be sold to the East India Company.

To Effect the foregoing matters & to Protect the Great Treasures likely to be taken at Muscat & the other places belonging to the Muscat Arabians & at Don Mascarenhas as als what shall be brought by the Pirates of Madagascar the Subscriber humbly proposes the Force following as absolutely necessary vizt.

         One Man of War of 70 Gunns

         Two            of 50 Gunns

         Two Good fifth rates & one Good sixth rate

And the Subscriber humbly hopes he is able to shew how the said Squadron may be provided out of Yr. Maj.ts Navy after the Ships for the Streights West Indies & Channel are appointed

The Expedition may be perform'd in less than 22 Months & in the return our East India Shipps may in all probability be convey'd safe home all which 'tis presum'd are reasons abundantly sufficient to prove that such a Squadron cannot be better employ'd then in this Service where there is such a moral certainty of Success.

The Subscriber doth likewise humbly propose that the Person whom Yr. Maj.tie shall appoint to Comand the aforesaid Squadron may have Comission to take or destroy all Enemies & Pirates at Madagascar or else where who shall obstinately refuse Yr. Maj.te Gracious Pardon & all Arabian Subjects of the King of Muscat likewise with full power by Yr. Maj.ts Comission to pardon & Protect all such Pirates of Madagascar & others together with their Money Jewels Goods & Effects whatsoever (except what shall be therein excepted) as shall voluntarily surrender themselves on the Conditions & by the time Limitted in such Pardon.

And since it is most probable that a Person of the Subscribers Quality of his Dependance in England And of his Post in the Sea Service must be less lyable to Exception & his honour more relyed upon by the said Pirates & since he is the Person wo by his Sollicitation & Industry hath got this matter recomended to Yr. Maj.tie by Yr. Comons in Parliam:t Assembled (who will not faile to provide for the Charge of an Expedition founded upon their Address) and since he has great reason to believe no other Person can so effectually serve Yr. Maj.tie in this Affair; He humbly prays Yr. Maj.tie would be graciously pleas'd to employ him on the said Expedition & to furnish him with such Force & Comissions as aforesaid.

It not being to be thought that such a number of Pirates will quit their strong holds & venture with all their Effects upon so long a Voyage without being well guarded & secured from Yr. Maj.ts Enemies. Besides that with humble Submission 'tis not advisable for Yr. Maj.tie to venture so great a Treasure (as the Subscriber can give good reasons will in all probability come to Yr. Maj.ts Coffers at the return of the said Squadron) to pass by Yr. Enemies without a Sufficient Force to Protect it.

All which is most Humbly affor'd to Yr. Maj.ts great Wisdom and.. Consideration with a most profound Submission & Respect.


*Vice-Admiral Peregrine Osborne, 2nd Duke of Leeds (1659 – 25 June 1729), styled Viscount Osborne between 1673 and 1689, Earl of Danby between 1689 and 1694 and Marquess of Carmarthen between 1694 and 1712, was an English Tory politician.



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