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Ten Persons Tried for Piracy at Nassau—9-10 Dec 1718

Trials – Ten Persons Tried for Piracy at Nassau-9-10 Dec 1718

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New Providence Is. [begins page 75]

        At a Private Consultation held on Fryday the 28 of Novemr. 1718 at the Secretary's Office in ye Citty of Nassau

The Governour acquainting us that Capt. Cockram and Capt. Hornigold have by Virtue of a Commission issued and directed to them for the apprehending of certain Pirates had the Success to bring ten of them Prisoners to this Port which are now confined by an especial Mittimus on board the Ship Delicia, therefore desired that we might agree and joyn in one Opinion concerning the sd P[irates].

Which being maturely debated and considered that as the necess[ary] Guards set on the Prisoners for want of a Goal very much fatigu'd both ??? Soldiers and Seamen who equally Guarded the Fort and Ship, and as many as could be Spared dayly workt on the fortifications and did the Duty of Centinals at Night, thereby harrassing our small Numbers of Men, and hindred the Publick Works; And there being suspected Persons still remaining in the Islands who may give frequent Intelligences of Our Condition, so if any fear should be shown on our part, it might animate several now here to incite the Pirates without to attempt the Rescue of these in Custody; therefore We do beleive it most for the Publick good when the Fort is in a better State of Defense and Capt. Beauchamp and Burges with about Sixty Soldiers and Seamen at this time gone to prevent the designs of Vane the Pirate are return'd to Strengthen Us, the Governour ought then as soon as Possible to bring the Prisoners to a tryal, Notwithstanding he has made known to us that he has no direct Commission for tryal of Pirates, yet according to the intent and meaning of the 6th Article of the Governour's Instructions wch. in this Case refers to the 46 Article in those given to the Governour of Jamaica a Coppy of whose Instructions, He has for his Directions to govern himself by, as near as the Circumstance of the Place will admit this Corroberated with the Power in the Governours Comissions of Governt. Capt. General, & Vice Admiral of the Bahama Islands, share the Intention of his Majesty for Such Authority here; And having an Accot. that the Proprietary Government of Carolina had Executed Twenty Two Pirates lately carried in there, which together with the Provoaking Ill Example and Behaviour of the Prisoners who have all Accepted his Majesty's Act of Grace and afterwards turned Pirats again, And considering it would be a great Risque and trouble to send So many to Great Brittain, & a much greater to keep them Prisoners here, We are entirely of Opinion his Majesty will approve of the Necessity for the Governours judicial Proceeding with those Pirates by a tryal in the best manner We can according to Law; And do verily beleive the Speediest Execution for those that shall be found guilty, will conduce most to the Welfare of this Government.

        Copied from the Council Book by W: Fairfax


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Providence Is.  His Excellency Woodes Rogers Esq. Capt. General, Governour and Vice Admiral of the Bahama Islands

To Willm. Fairfax Esqr. Capt. Robt. Beauchamp Thomas Walker Esqr. Capt. Wingate Gale Nathl. Taylor Esqr. Capt. Josias Burges and Capt. Peter Courant.


By Virtue of a Comission from his most Sacred Majesty George King of Great Brittain &ca. to be Governour &ca. of these Islands Hereby impowering Me to Authorize Comissionate and constitute all Judges, Justices and Magistrates in these Islands &ca. as also by Virtue of my Comission to be Vice Admiral of these Islands have Power and Authority to authorize and impower, constitute and Comissionate proper Judges & Comissioners for the trying determining, adjudging and condemming of all or any Pirate or Pirates taken apprehended and brought into this Government - And in Confidence of the Loyalty, Prudence and Integrity of You the aforesaid, Wm. Fairfax, Robt. Beauchamp, Thomas Walker Wingate Gale, Nathl. Taylor, Josias Burges and Peter Courant. I do by Virtue of these Presents, Authorize Comissionate constitute and appoint you Deputy Judges and Comissioners of the said Especial Court by these Presents erected and appointed to be and sity in the Citty of Nassau on Tuesday the 9th of this Instant to Examine, hear, try, judge, determine and condemn all such Pirates or Pirates that are now in Custody and to be brought before their Court to be tried for the Offenses of Piracy by them lately comitted in and about these Islands, and to Proceed as my Assistants and as Comissioners aforesaid according to the Lawes of England, and Rules of the said Court in Such Cases and for Your so doing this shall be Your Sufficient Comission and Authority

Given under my hand and Seal at Nassau the Eight day of December Anno Regii quinto Georgg : Regis Magna Brittannica &ca. Ano Domini 1718.


                Woodes Rogers

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New Providence Is.

Chief of the Bahama Islands

                At an especial Admiralty Sessions

                held in His Majestys Guard -

                Room in the City of Nassau on

                Tuesday & Wednesday

                the 10th of December 1718


                His Excellency Woodes Rogers Esqr. Gov. & Vice Adml. &ca.

                William Fairfax Esqr. Judge of the Admty.

                Robt. Beauchamp Esqr.

                Thos. Walker Esqr.

                Capt. Wingate Gale.

                Nathl. Taylor Esqr.

                Capt. Josias Burges

                Capt. Peter Courant

Proclamation being made as usual, the Rigister opened, and read the Governours especial Comission for erecting this Court according to the intent and meaning of a late Act of Parliament entituled an Act for the more Effectual Suppression of Piracy, by Virtue of which said Comission the Seven aforenam'd Comissioners are appointed assistant Judges for the hearing, trying, judging, and Condemning the Several Persons now in Custody and stand comitted for Mutiny, Felony and Piracy

Proclamation being again made, that all persons condern'd or summon'd and requir'd to appear at this Court do give their due Attendance.


That the Prisoners be brought to the Bar which being done they were Called by their Names Vizt. John Augar Wm. Cunningham, John Hipps, Dennis MCKarthy, George Rounsivel, Wm. Dowling, William Lewis, Thos. Morris, George Bendall & William Ling.


That the aforesaid Prisoners now at the Bar do hold up their hands


That the Accusation against the Prisoners be read which was as follows.




Providence Is.

The Articles and Accusations against John Augur late Master of the Sloop Mary of Providence, Wm. Cunningham Gunner & Mariner on board the Schooner called the Batchelor's Adventure Henr: White Master, John Hipps Boatswain and Mariner on board the Sloop Lancaster, Wm. Greenway Master, Dennis McKarty Mariner on board the Said Schooner, Geo. Rounsival Mariner on board the Said Schooner, Wm. Dowling Mariner on board the Said Schooner, Wm. Lewis Mariner, Geo: Bendal Mariner on board the Said Sloop Lancaster & Wm. Ling Mariner on board the Said Schooner.

You the said John Augur, Wm. Cunningham, John Hipps, Dennis McKarthy, George Rounsival, Wm. Dowling, Wm. Lewis, Thomas Morris, George Bendall and Wm. Ling haveing all of You lately received the Benifit of His Majesty's Most Gracious Pardon for your former offence and Acts of Robbery and Piracy, and have Since taken the Oaths of Allegiance to his most Sacred Majesty King George, and thereupon trust has been reposed in You the said John Augar, and to the other of You Lawfull Employments has been bestow'd to divert You all from Your former and Unlawfull Courses of Life, and to enable and Support You all in just and lawfull ways of living; And You not haveing the fear of God before Your Eyesnor any regard to Your Oath, of all Allegiance taken to Your Sovereign, nor to the Pformance of Loyalty, Truth, & Justice, But being instigated and Deluded by the Devil to return to Your to Your former unlawfull evil Courses of Robbery and Piracy You and every of You stand here accused of Trickery, Mutiny, Felony & Piracy, And that you John Augar, Wm. Cunningham, John Hipps, Dennis McKarthy, Geo: Rouncival, Wm. Dowling, Wm. Lewis, Thomas Morris, George Bendall and Willm. Ling late Masters and Mariners aforesaid did on the Sixth day of October abuot Seven in that Evening in the Fifth Year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lord George by the Grace of God King of Great &ca. by Plott combined together at a desolate Island called Green Key [2,000-ft long island off northwest point of San Salvador Island] within the Jurisdiction of this Vice Admiralty to Mutine & feloniously and Piratically steal take and Carry away from the Comdrs. and Owners of the aforementioned Vessels, the said Sloops and Cargoes, Tackle, Apparel, & Furniture to the Value of above Nine Hundred Pounds current Mony of these Islands and by force caused to be put ashore upon the said desolate Island one Mr James Ker Mercht. and Sundry others at him, And the Said John Augur as then Comander of One of the Said Sloops did Proceed as Comander of the Said Pirates from ye sd. Island to Exuma, where by Virtue of a Comission directed to Capt. Jno. Cockram and Capt. Benja. Hornigold. You the said John Augur and the rest of Your piratical Company were there taken and apprehended as Pirates and thereupon brought into this Court to be proceed against according to law. The Prisoners holding up their hands and the Accusation being read all the said Prisoners were askt by the Register whether Guilty or not & they Pleaded not Guilty


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National Archives (London), The Tryal and Condemnation of Ten Persons for Piracy, at Nassau in the Bahamas, CO 23/1, 75-82.