Professional Research & Maritime Historian, Author, & Conservator

Concerning Pirate Goods in South Carolina 14-19 Jul 1716

Depositions – Pirate Goods in South Carolina, 14-19 Jul 1716

Webpage designed by Baylus C. Brooks—Copyright 2015-2017 Baylus C. Brooks

All Rights Reserved

July 14.    

267. Deposition of Robert Daniell, Depty. Governor of South Carolina. I renewed the commission of Captn. Mathew Musson to take pirates etc., the commission he had from the Lord Hamilton being nearly expired, and he intending to cruise about Cape Florida a station now much frequented by pirates. I added a further power against the Yamasees and other our Indian enemies who were likely to be mett with upon that coast. Having intelligence of severall pirates lying amongst the Bahama Islands, he mett there one Perrin from Virginia on board a sloop in which Hornigold the pirate sailed and which he took last winter from the Spaniards, having on board sundry goods which Perrin pretended to have bought of Hornigold. Musson seized the sd. sloop and sent Perrin in a sloop properly owned by him and the sd. goods under command of Joseph Carpenter to this Governmt. in order to be prosecuted for his clandestine and illegall trade. Mr. Carpenter came to anchor to the southward a little of Mr. [William] Gibbon's Bridge and coming ashoare to give me an account of his proceedings, in the mean time Mr. [Richard] Wigg went on board and commanded the hatches to be opened which the sailors refused adding that their orders were to the contrary. About 9 of the clock that morning Col. [William] Rhett and Wigg came and informed me the sailers threatned to knock out the braines of any that should offer to open the hatches till orders from the Governour in whose custody she then was, and by whose Commission she was seized. I answered that the sailers were commanded to keep the hatches fast, and as for their ill language I believed Coll. Rhett pretty well knew the nature of a common sailer whose prejudiced education may plead for the rudeness tho' no way justifye it, and that he might send on board what officer he pleased to prevent any imbezlemts. and that I would send the Marshall of the Admiralty on board likewise. Rhett answered that he would take the vessell and goods into his custody and carry the goods on shoar to secure the King's part. I replyed I was under the same obligations to see that the King's interest was secured, and therefore would not permitt Col. Rhett, or any body else to take the goods out of the sloop, etc. They departed as I thought contended. I ordered Nathl. Partridge, Marshall of the Admiralty, to go on board and take care accordingly. In the afternoon he informed me that Capt. Howard, Coll. Rhett, Wigg and a great many of Capt. Howard's men with armes and hand granadoes came on board and having broke open the hatches were taking out all the goods. I went upon the Bay and saw Capt. Howard's long boat and pinace and the Customehouse boat on board in which Howard, Rhett and Wigg with a great many others went to take away the goods aforesd. Hereupon I immediately sent for Capt. Porter and the Town Captns. and ordered the flagg out at Granvill's Bastion, some guns to be loaded, and the Companies to be called to armes, which was quickly done, there being instantly in armes I beleive abt. 140 men. I went down to the end of Mr. Gibbon's Bridge and called to Capt. Howard and Coll. Rhett to come on shoar of which Capt. Howard tooke no notice. But as for Rhett he draws his sword and flourishing it severall times sett up a Huza at me and put off from the sloop in their boats. Upon this I ordered Capt. Porter to through a great shott over them to bring them too, which Capt. Howard no way heeding keep rowing to his ship which lay at the end of Rhett's bridge, but Rhett being in his usuall trim stood up in the boat, and with his continued drawn sword in one hand and his hat in the other being in a perpetuall deriding motion flourishing both at me bringing up every now and then the chorus of his attempt and disdain with a Huzzah. But having still hopes of bringing them to their obedience and reason I ordered the soldiers to fire over and before them all wch. proved ineffectuall Capt. Howard's boat getting safe on board with the goods. Capt. Rhett continuing his aforesd. postures with an additionall turn as I am informed of his backside to me, but dare not affirm it for a truth because I have not seen this last part of his anticks, before he gott on board reced. a shott I hear in his side, and not another touched I think. I resolved to go on board Capt. Howard to expostulate with him and demand Coll. Rhett, and accompanied only by Geo. Rodd came within five or six feet of the side. The man of war Lieut. being a little before the entring place presented a gunn at me and swore God damn him if I offered to come on board he would shoot me and againe repeated his damncon if he did not. This salutation made me look Capt. Howard full in the face who stood at the entring place with a drawn sword in his hand, wch. pointing at me in a surly manner said, what would you have. This unexpected reception made me smile and turned back again without speaking a word with intent to return to the men. I had but just returned from the ship when I heard Coll. Rhett say I will kill the old Rogue let me goe God damn me I will kill the Dogg. I saw him with a drawn sword in his hand strugling with Capt. Howard to gett over the side, etc. Rhett presently laid a shovell, which he had picked off the bridge, upon Mr. Rodd with all his might. Rodd made a shift to put by the fury of so unexpected an assault with his drawn sword and beleive out of a principle of good nature spared Rhett's life which he had then in his power. Sworne in Councill, 14th July, 1716. Signed, Robt. Daniell. 3¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 387. No. 5.]


July 14.

S. Carolina.     

268. (a) Warrant for committing James Fellows Lt. of H.M.S. Shoreham (v. July 19) for abusing and threatening to kill the Governor, calling all the inhabitants pirates, and assaulting Joseph Swaddle, etc. Charleston, July 12th, 1716. Signed, Geo. Rodd, H.M.Attorney General.

(b) Deposition of Nathl. Partridge, Marshal of the Admiralty of South Carolina, as to Col. Rhett and Capt. Howard breaking open the hatches of the sloop Betty, etc. as above. July 14, 1716. Signed, Nath. Partridge.

(c) Deposition of George Rodd, Attorney General of South Carolina. Confirms Governor Daniel's account supra. July 14, 1716. Signed, Geo. Rodd.

(d) Deposition of Thomas Hepworth, Capt. of Militia, Charlestown. The Governor ordered him to bring his company to Gibbon's Bridge, where after Coll. Rhett and Capt. Howard had refused to bring to and come ashore at the Governor's command, they fired towards the boat etc., ut supra. 14th July, 1716. Signed, T. Hepworth.

(e) Deposition of Joseph Swaddell, South Carolina, 14th July, 1716. On July 11th, Lt. Fellows, after abusing deponent and the Governor for an old rogue and pirate, and threatening that as soon as they got into the river, they would make the Government shake (with the Shoreham's guns), struck deponent for saying he would take the Governor's part, etc. (v. 19th July.) Signed, Jos. Swaddell.

(f) Deposition of Antho. Mathewes, Charlestown, July, 14, 1716. Confirms (b) and (d) above and Governor Daniel's account.

(g) Deposition of Capt. Matthew Porter, Commander of the Forts of Charlestown, 14th July, 1716. Confirms preceding.

(h) Deposition of Joseph Swaddell, South Carolina, 14th July, 1716. Confirms preceding. Rhett called the Governor "old Rouge old Dog old Crooked back Lurkenburg Dog," etc. Signed, Jos.Swaddell.

(i) Deposition of David Bourke of Charlestown, 14th July, 1716. About the beginning of May last deponent arriving in Charlestown in a sloop from St. Augustine, Edward Brookes, Surveyor, and Richard Wigg, Searcher and Surveyor, came on board and seiz'd several goods for want of due certificates to be produced (they alledg'd) for the exportation of the goods, amongst which there were five peeces of broad silk bone lace. Deponent told Wigg not to carry away that foolish parcell of lace, for that it belonged to Mrs. Delamore, upon which Wigg answered: Take it back againe for she will scold more than its worth. Signed, Dad. Bourke.

(j) Deposition of Capt. Thomas Walker of Charlestown, 16th July, 1716. Confirms (f) (g) etc. Signed, Tho.Walker.

(k) Deposition of William Gibbon of Charlestown. Confirms preceding. Signed, William Gibbon.

(l) Deposition of Andrew Allen. Confirms preceding. Signed, Andrew Allen.The whole endorsed, Recd. from the Agent for South Carolina. 10¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 387. No. 9.]



July 19.

Shoreham, in Ashley Cooper River, South Carolina.        

273. [? Lt.] James Fellows to Mr. Burchett. Describes Lt. Governor Daniel's firing on Capt. Howard and Col. William Rhett, Depty. Surveyor Genl. of H.M. Customes, and directly upon H.M.S. Shoreham with her colours flying, etc. Cf. July 14th supra. I presented my muskett at the Governour and call'd him an old Rogue and told him that if he advanced one step further towards the ship, I would shoot him, etc. On the 11th, being ashore and finding one Joseph Swaddle (one of the crew), who had been ashore on the 4th and fired at Capt. Howard, I struck him in the face, he immediately returning me severall till the Marshall at whose house we were parted us. The Governour being brought and recognising me, immediately ordered me to be put in irons and without any other writ or order for my commitment. I was that night put in irons, where he kept me till the 13th, thô Capt. Howard had demanded me of him, but said he would send me to England in irons being as his lawyer said guilty of High Treason, in calling him old Rogue and threatening to shoot him, but on the 13th I removed myself by a Habeas Corpus by giving bail for my appearance at the tryal and for my future good behaviour. Signed, James Fellows. Copy. 4½ pp. [C.O. 5, 387. No. 6.]


"America and West Indies: July 1716," in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 29, 1716-1717, ed. Cecil Headlam (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1930), 139-159.

RSS Feed Widget

Baylus’ Blog:

Image result for charleston carolina map old

1733 Map of Charles Towne which shows the city’s defensive walls.