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SC Gov. Robert Johnson to Board of Trade—21 Oct 1718

Letters – Johnson to Board—21 Oct 1718

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"America and West Indies: October 1718," in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 30, 1717-1718, ed. Cecil Headlam (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1930), 359-381. British History Online, accessed January 23, 2019,


Oct. 21. [1718]

Charles town, South Carolina. 730. Governor and Council of South Carolina to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Lately two pirate vessels, commanded by one Vane, lay of the barr of this harbour, as they have often done, and took a ship from Guiney with negros, and two sloops bound in, and the next day attack't four ships outward bound, but what success, he had with them wee cou'd not be inform'd, however their insults, and receiveing advice that wee might expect the same usage from another, who was careening, and refilling in Cape Fear River, obliged the Governr. (thô very unable both for want of men and money) to fitt out a force to go and attack them, and accordingly two sloops, one commanded by Capt. Masters and the other by Capt. Hall, with about, 130 men were gott ready wth. all the dispatch wee cou'd. and Collo. William Rhett commanded the whole, who sail'd southerly first, in search of Vane, but not being able to meet with, or gain intelligence of him, he steered for Cape Feare River, in which he found a sloop of 8 gunns and 50 men, commanded by a Majr. Stede Bonett, and two prizes, sloops belonging to New England. On seeing our vessells enter the River, they endeavoured to gett out, and in the chase, all the three sloops run aground on some shoals, But that commanded by Capt. Masters, in which Collo. Rhett was, lay within musqt. shott of the pirate, and the water falling away (it being ebb) she keel'd towards him, which exposed our men very much to their fire, for near six hours, dureing wch. time they were engaged very warmly, untill the water riseing sett our sloops afloat, about an hour before the priate, when Collo. Rhett makeing the signall, and they prepair'd to board him, which the pirate seeing, sent a white flagg, and after some short time, surrender'd, on Collo. Rhett's promising he wou'd interceed for mercy. Wee had killed on board Collo. Rhett eight men and fourteen wounded, of which four are since dead, and on board Capt. Hall, two killed and six wounded. The said pirates are now prisoners here, and wee are prepairing for their tryall. This undertaking, besides that it has been a considerable expence to us, will (wee apprehend) very much irretate the pirates who infest this coast in great numbers. Wee become therefore humble sutors to your Lordships, that you will be pleased to lay before H.M. the great danger our trade and Collony are in from them, they having at some times blocked up our harbour for eight or ten days together, and taken all that have come in or gone out, and plundered them, where they have not thought the vessells fitt for their purpose. In procureing a vessell it will be of the greatest service to the trade not only of this Collony, but of all these parts etc. Signed, Robt. Johnson, A. Skene, Nicholas Trott, Tho. Broughton, Char. Hart, Fra. Yonge. Endorsed, Recd. 29th May, Read 11th June, 1719. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 1265. No. 121; and 5, 1293. pp. 173–175.]


Original to follow… BCB 23 Jan 2019

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