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thing in the hold, which was separated from the place where they slept only by a bulk head. I afterwards learnt their whole deliberations and intentions from Boyce, but then I did not know them. Being fully convinced of my identity, and nearly certain from my conduct that I knew them, one proposed to murder me at the wheel and run off with the vessel. The other objected to this as needlessly tending to beget suspicion, as the vessel and master would soon be enquired after, and there would be no time for escape. It was, therefore, determined to take the ship safely to ber port, and there waylay me on the evening of my arrival, in which case, no more suspicion of guilt was likely to fall on them, than on any other persons. All this I did not then know or I should have postponed doing what I did. That night as I had turned in, and slept for some time, the boy came back from his wheel, and creeping softly towards me, caught me by the hand. Already somewhat nervous from my dangerous situation, I half jumped up, thinking that the assassins had come upon me; Boyce whispered bis name in my ear and bid me be silent : he then said in a low voice, that he had heard these men proposing to murder me. I thought for a short space within me what I should do, and concluding from what Boyce had said, that the act was to be committed on board the ship, I saw no other remedy than to proceed to action with all speed, as the two villains were now separate, one asleep and the other at the wheel; while if I waited another two watches our forces would be divided and theirs united. I therefore, seized the boy's hand and asked him before heaven, if he would be on my side to which he swore he would. I then bid him creep secretly round some packages which were near the wheel and hide himself, while I would do so on the other side, and to rise when I rose; I carefully cocked my pistols, placed one in my bosom and crawled round to the wheel as near as I could, without being visible, with the other weapon in my hand. Dance, alias Williamson was at the wheel; the night was a calm and serene one, with a quiet and steady breeze, so that the vessel almost steered herself; and fortunately the aid of the helmsman being little required he had fallen into a doze or a reverie. “ Dance,” said I holding the pistol to his head "you are a dead man if you make the slightest noise or the least resistance ; it is useless too as there is more help in the ship than you know of, and your shipmate is prisoner. Hold out your hands, and Boyce, take the helm.” The fellow seemed utterly stupified and did as he was bid, on the spur of the moment, and before he had time for reflection, I had clapped a pair of handcuffs on him: his feet were easily secured by a chain to a ring on the deck. And thus lay powerless a man whose strength was at least double that of mine. " I now told Boyce, that as the wind
was so fair and steady, and I needed his assistance to lash the helm a starboard until the other villain was secured, and was proceeding to the forecastle, when Dance who had had leisure to recover from his surprise, and saw how matters stood, began to call and halloo aloud for Jamieson, and once cried to Jackson, by which means I came to find out his real name, instead of that borne on the books. I gave Boyce orders to go back, and stop Dance's Mouth with any thing he could find ; but the mischief was done, Jamieson or Jackson came on deck and I bid Boyce stay by me. I called on him to surrender or that he was a dead man and presented the pistol. He bawled out to his shipmate to know what was the matter and how things went. “ I can give you no cheer brother” said he “ for I'm fast locked in the bilboes; so there's no chance for it save a fight. D - the chap's barkers, knock him overboard." “ Here goes then” said Jamieson as he caught up a ponderous handspike and made a rush at me ; but I saw that he was desperate, and ere he could move but two steps, he had received my ball, which broke his arm, and the handspike fell. Yield, surrender” said I, drawing the other pistol and pointing it at him. “ No, d-it” said he, “not while I've got to’ther left ; It will serve to toss twenty such as thee into the herring pond.” He had scarcely uttered the words when Boyce, who had got behind him, hit him a severe blow on the head with a bludgeon, which felled him to the ground senseless; on which I lashed his whole arm tightly to the capstan, bound up his wound, and secured his feet with handcuffs. I returned to visit the other prisoner, and it was well that I did so, for he had by struggling nearly got his feet out of limbo, and though not capable of doing much, he might have embarrassed us, had he come up when the combat was going on.
Thus it was I got possession of the vessel and the villains, but I was still in a precarious state ; I had but a boy to assist me in navigating the ship, and in taking care of the prisoners, who required constant watching. It was quite clear that we could not stand twenty-four or forty-eight hours of constant labour without rest, and that had a storm come on we should have been in no condition to put the ship in trim. In this dilemma, I did what I thought best calculated to effect my object. I first reloaded my discharged pistol, which I gave to the boy desiring him to give a look to the prisoners every now and then, and to use the weapon, without fear if necessary.
We then lowered and furled the fore top, top gallant and mainsail, and main top gallant sail, leaving her under her main topsail and fore course, and turned her head toward shore, that we might more readily meet with other Ships, and hoisted the ensign with the union down at the main mast head, that it might be seen the more conspicuously.
Boyce went to the wheel and I walked up and down the deck with my pistol inspecting the prisoners. It was a weary night that, and heartily did I pray that it might soon be brought to a close. It was indeed one of those singularly fortunate coincidences, which have distinguished my adventurous life, that break of day shewed us a British Frigate in the offing ; on seeing us she altered her course, and came down to us, ordering a boat to be sent on board. I replied, through a speaking trumpet, that we had but two hands to work the vessel, on which they seut a Lieutenant and eight men. This officer was much astonished to find the state of things, on board, but after having heard my story, declared be had a perfect recollection of the occurrence of the piracy I had mentioned, and that a reward had been proclaimed for the apprehension of any of the offenders; he then claimed the prisoners on the part of the King, gave me a receipt for them, and took them away. On my representation, however, he left two able seamen to assist in working the ship, and ordered us to come under the frigate's quarter. I was speedily sunmoned on board the frigate, where my deposition and that of Boyce were taken ; mine tallied as usual with those statements I had before made, copies of which had been sent to all frigates cruising in the service. Dance and Jackson, for I will hereafter speak of them by their real names, denied any knowledge of me, and asserted that my statement and that of Boyce, were wholly false ; that they had been unprovokedly arrested and maltreated, for which they would certainly sue me in Westminster Hall. When interrogated as to their former mode of life, and where they had sailed, to what ports they had traded, and to what ships they belonged, they remained silent, saying, that it was their accuser's business to prove their guilt, and that they would admit nothing and tell nothing. Their chests were then searched, but nothing suspicious or recognizable was found there ; still from many of the articles they possessed, it was almost next to positive proof, that they had been in South America ; a small ingot of gold, and some silver articles uot usually in use among sailors, and never so costly, found in Dance's chest, gave rise to suspicion that they could not have been purchased by savings from his wages. The evidence was deemed sufficient to warrant the detention of Dance and Jackson, neither of whom would answer to those names ; wherefore they were detained by both, as the safest course, and as I was already bound to appear in this case, on representing the hardship, I should sufler, if my ship was not allowed to proceed, I received permission to go on. We accordingly stood on for Newcastle, where we speedily arrived, and did all I could to get up another crew, as the men which had been lent to me by the Captain of the Frigate, here returned to their own service, having been transferred to a tender lying in harbour. In this I was very unsuccessful, for the pressgang had ravaged the town, and was still doing so, and every ship was searched for able bodied searen to man his Majesty's fleet. In default of these, I tried all the arts of persuasion, with landsmen, colliers, miners, &c. but however high the wages they would not engage. At last I got a couple of youths, one of whom seemed superior to the common class of people, and who I shrewdly suspected of having run away from home, to assist me ; and on another day, a deserter came swimming off in the dark from the tender ship. This latter was a hazardous venture, but I had no choice, and so made my agreement and stowed the fellow away until search was over. Of course my brig was visited, but the runaway was too well concealed, and the Lieutenant who came on board laughed heartily at the idea of my going to sea, with two lads and a dandy. I represented the impossibility of getting men, as he had snapped them all up, which being a tacit compliment to his activity was well received, and he left me very graciously. Preparations being made and all being again ready, I and my crew set to work heaving the anchor, and I saw the officers from the tender ship were making use of their glasses, to see if we had more hands on board than were rated on the books. They were apparently satisfied, for they took no steps to stop us ; indeed our fugitive had not as yet appeared on deck. Yet, when we were fairly underweigh and had proceeded a short distance, we heard a gun fired ; at first we did not think it was for us, and though we knew its intention the second time, we did not wish to understand it or bring to, and so continued our course. On this the tender swiftly slipped her anchor and getting under sail, was coming up with us hand over hand, when I thought it prudent to lower topsails and lay to. I was much distressed to know, why I had been pursued and feared, I had incurred penalties by harbouring the youth or runaway seaman; the tender on coming up hailed me, and bid me follow in her wake and thus it was my fortune to sail in and out of Shield's Harbour in one day.
We were no sooner at anchor, than a special Messenger came off in a boat attended with a Bow-street Officer, and they summoned me to attend immediately to assist in the further detection of the pirates to whose place of residence a clew had been at last found, but it was yet suspicion only, unsupported by
proof. I was immediately sought for and my absence looked upon as singular, and not quite favourable to me. As time pressed and no delay was to be incurred, measures were taken by Government to secure me by plans of rather a harsh character; they had authorised my detention in all the ports, and sent an oflicer to Newcastle. My explanations of what had taken place were deemed satisfactory, and the slowness of my return fully accounted for; as to the capture of the two men, the Bow-street officer facilitated me on my success, and vowed he could not have done the thing better himself, and that I should make a very superior thief-taker. Thinking it far from improbable that we might pick up more of the men sought for, we secretly visited all the receptacles for seamen in the town, but without
But what annoyed me more than any thing, was the keeping of my vessel, which, in consequence of my not being able to find a respectable man to take charge of her, was then lying in harbour. The only person I could procure, and that was after great trouble, was an old skipper of sixty years who had fallen into bad repute by losing several ships, until he could no longer get employment. Sailors are a superstitious set, and they thought this old fellow, under a spell, where shipping was concerned. There was a choice between losing my freight and the heavy charge of port dues, and of losing the ship in toto from the skipper's bad luck. I resolved on sending this man, and agreed with him for a sum of money; when, however, I went to the agency houses to insure my ship, and they enquired the commander's name, they positively refused to underwrite alleging his previous repeated losses, and attributing them to incapacity ; this excuse was in all probability untrue, for I never heard the unfortunate man so spoken of elsewhere. At last I got a veteran quarter master, who appeared to know something of navigation to take the vessel, insured her, and saw her spread her sails, and quit the port. Having nothing further to stop me, I, the messenger and Land, the Bow-street officer, took the mail to ourselves and set off for London. The officer Land now took an opportunity to give me a history of the matters which led to a belief that the perpetrators of those horrid outrages would soon be discovered. He related, that Major D. whose lady had been so barbarously used, had been one day particularly struck by the form and size of a splendid set of diamonds made into a necklace and ear-rings, which were worn by a lady of rank, with whom he met at a party. After mature inspection he came to the conclusion that they were none other than those which he had given his deceased lady, and the more especially so, from a particular flaw in one of the largest, without which its price would have been invaluable. The setting, however, was