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In changing the scene from Mons to Liège, I cannot help lingering a moment, on the way, in order to counsel every tourist travelling from Ostend to Cologne, in lieu of going by Louvain and Varenne, to make a slight detour vid Charleroi, Namur, and Liège, in order to visit the beautiful scenery of the Meuse ; for I consider the rugged cliffs, the old castles, the picturesque villages, and the frequent forests along its banks, combine to form a very fitting overture to the bolder panoramic effects afforded by the Rhine.
I could not help remarking, when alighting at Liège, that out of a train full of English, scarcely a tithe of them stopped to visit this most interesting town—the Birmingham of Belgium, as it is appropriately called.
The same remark holds good for the next day: when departing for Aix-la-Chapelle, I saw the Brussels train arrive with a cargo of fellowcountrymen, all of whom remained seated, and evinced not the slightest curiosity to visit one of the most picturesque and celebrated towns upon the continent. In vain had the guide-book assured them that Liège presents historical reminiscences to interest the antiquarian, splendid churches to attract the curious, and an active, hardy, and industrious population to amuse the observant man of commercial acquirements. No! They all seemed in a hot fever of anxiety to enter Germany; and bolt, electrically, past everything instructive and entertaining, into the vortex of revelry which the ball-rooms, saloons, concert halls, and gaming-tables, of the Kursaal unhappily afford them! We, English, as a body, travel much and see little! Our experience, as a general rule, resembles the ex officio acquaintance which stokers and firemen may be supposed to possess of the different towns by which they pass. They behold the outline of the buildings therein, and, sometimes, not even that, when the station happens to be situated at a convenient distance from the town, of half-amile or more.
“Ah, Monsieur Hopkins,' comment vous portez vous?"
THE LIFE OF A PIRATE:*
WRITTEN BY HIMSELF,
Somewhere about the years 1730-1.
“Quis Liber in lucem tandem qui venit ab umbris ?”—Mantuan.
The original of this very singular memoir, which is now given to the public, is in the possession of John J. W-Esq., of S House, Northamptonshire, late M.P. for B-; a descendant from the same family with the unhappy autobiographer. The papers were sent over to this country by his Excellency Mr. Trelawny, Governor of Jamaica, in the year 1738; and after remaining unopened for a hundred-and-fifteen years were accidentally discovered, a few months ago, among some old legal documents, which it became necessary to consult for the purpose of ascertaining the right of property in an exhausted gravel-pit, on Mr. W's estate, in the county before-mentioned. They are now sent to the press entirely upon my own responsibility, and, as I am bound in honour to say, very much against that gentleman's inclination. Whether I have done right in overcoming his scruples in this respect must be left to others to decide. No one can be more sensible than I am that there are very many things in the following pages calculated to offend the prejudices and even shock the feelings of the reader. But the true history of a human heart, however corrupt or callous it may be, can hardly fail to be deeply interesting; and, probably, no man ever laid bare his bosom more boldly and completely to the world than the writer of these memoirs.
* We think it right to inform our readers that the extraordinary work which the kindness of its editor-Mr. Baillie, of Rosemount—now enables us to lay before them is a fragment only. Whether it was ever completed, or whether the remaining portion of it has been lost, we are unable to say; but we are authorized to state that Mr. Baillie proposes to supply, from family papers and other sources, some detailed particulars respecting the life of the writer, from the period at which the manuscript terminates; in addition to those which he has mentioned in his preface.-Editor of The New Monthly Revieu.
Many of his sentiments, indeed, are such as could have emanated only from a person who was at war with all mankind, and who took a perverse pleasure in proclaiming it. Nor is the book, as it appears to me, less an extraordinary production in other respects than those of its perfect truthfulness and boldness. The character of the author was at least as singular as his adventures—wild and startling as they were. A pirate, who was not only an admirable scholar in the ordinary acceptation of the term scholarship, but deeply read in much of the curious learning of a Butler or a Burton—and who uniting to piracy, and an extraordinary knowledge of books, ambitious views of no mean description, is believed to have held a naval commission in the service of the elder Pretender, and is known to have been occupied at the time of his death with preparations for an attack upon Jamaica, at the head of a force of upwards of eighteen hundred freebooters, with the design of proclaiming the Stuarts in the West Indies—is a character which the boldest writer of fiction might reasonably have hesitated to delineate. Yet such a character, in real life, was Captain W- the Pirate.
From feelings which will be readily comprehended by every reader of these memoirs, Mr. W— has thought proper to couple his reluctant permission for their publication with the condition that the writer's name and that of his family residence should be concealed by the use of asterisks, or that the initial letters of them alone should be given; and that I should be as succinct as possible in such prefatory explanations as I might consider it absolutely necessary to enter upon. I do not however think that I am violating the spirit of that understanding, when I say that a brief but most erroneous account of Captain W, containing almost as many mistakes as it does lines, already exists, where there are no such suppressions. This account, such as it is, is to be met with in a very well-known book-"Captain Charles Johnson's Lives of the Pirates;" and an allusion to him may be found in a number, not very far back, of “Dickens's Household Words.”
The world by this time knows, I suspect, quite as much as it cares to know of that set of desperadoes, who under the name of the Brethren of the Coast–or, as they were more popularly called, the Buccaniers of America—were the plague and terror of the Spanish settlements in the West Indies, from the time of the capture of Jamaica, by Penn and Venables, in 1659, down to the end of the seventeenth century. They have been made the subject of scores of fictions, and of some three or four biographical compilations, more or less authentic, commencing with that of Oexmelin, himself-though apparently unwillingly-for a time, one of the fraternity. Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote at an epoch when their prosperity was in its zenith, speaks with a sort of admiration of their “wonderful power and courage, as testified by their bold and notable attacks upon Campeachy, Santa Martha, and Panama.”* The last considerable enterprise undertaken by these men, that against Carthagena, occurred in 1697. Shortly after that period they ceased altogether to be heard of—at least under the name of Buccaniers—in the history of the West Indies. The strongholds which they had established in some of the smaller islands, and on various points of the coast of America, were taken possession of by a naval force, sent out for that purpose by the English Government, at the urgent entreaty of the Spanish Ambassador in London; and energetic measures were adopted to prevent the fitting out of any future expeditions from the colonies belonging to Great Britain. Some of their principal leaders quitted the scenes of their old exploits, for more distant and less civilized regions. The greater part of them, having first obtained a formal amnesty for all past misdeeds, settled peaceably down in the English and Dutch plantations. More than one opulent and respectable family now existing in the West Indies deduces its descent from a retired Buccanier.
But the very success of the measures taken to put down the Buccaniers was productive, ere long, of a new and worse calamity. Their enterprises had furnished occupation and a means of wealth and distinction, at the expense of the Spaniards, to needy and desperate adventurers from almost every country in Europe. A few of their late chiefs, for whom no other way of life was possessed of any charms, now turned Pirates in good earnest; and so great was the impunity with which piracy could be carried on, little more than a century-and-a-quarter ago, that these men and their successors continued, under the name of Marooners, to infest the Spanish main for some years after George the Second was seated on the throne of Great Britain. Their fortunes varied with their leaders; but there were periods, during the first five-andthirty years of the eighteenth century, when they became, in number and organization, little less formidable than the Chinese Pirates of our own day. This was particularly the case when Roberts and the writer of these memoirs were at the head of them.
The original Buccaniers appear to have been considered, and not altogether unreasonably, less as robbers and murderers than as privateers and adventurers. The latter, indeed, was the term by which in their own time they were ordinarily designated. Many of them, there can be no doubt, among other and far worse inducements to buccaniering,
* In a note to that strange rhyming prophecy—beginning with “When Jamaica shall be lady of the islands and the main, &c.”—which was first published, I believe, among his posthumous works, in 1722.
were animated by feelings of burning hatred against the very name of Spaniard, growing out of the terrible atrocities practised by the followers of Columbus and of Cortez upon the wretched natives of the New World.
It is related of the ferocious Montbars, who gloried, in after life, in the name of the Exterminator, that his mind had early become inflamed with such a Quixotic rage against the oppressors of the Indians, that
upon the occasion of a college play founded on the conquest of Peru, he rushed upon the stage, in the hallucination of the moment, and dangerously wounded the youthful actor who represented the character of Pizarro. The inhabitants, and even the authorities of the English and Dutch settlements, looked with favour upon enterprises by which they were great pecuniary gainers, and the dreaded and abhorred Spaniards, the enemies alike of England and the United Provinces, were the only sufferers. A Buccanier returning successful from some daring expedition was thought to be no unworthy successor of Drake and Raleigh. Morgan, a man who disgraced courage and capacity of a very high order by treachery and the most sordid avarice, received the honour of knighthood at the hand of King Charles the Second, and was formally appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica, a post which he continued to hold for nearly two years.
Nor had there been wanting many instances of men of birth and education, and of no disreputable character, taking a part in their exploits. Among the associates of D'Olonois, who licked his dripping sword as he cut off the heads of his Spanish prisoners—of Van Horn, of Ostend, who punished every man of his crew with death that ducked his head to avoid a cannon-ball, and of such miscreants as Michael the Basque, Picard, and the two Gregnons—were Grammont and Montauban, gentlemen of the first families of France, and of whom Raynal, in his “History of the West Indies," has collected anecdotes of an almost romantic honour and disinterestedness. De Mansfeldt, the predecessor of Morgan, was descended from a race second to none in the empire for the number of distinguished soldiers which it had contributed to the armies of Germany. Montbars himself, by birth of an ancient family in Languedoc, “would never," says Oexmelin, “slay in cold blood a prisoner that he had taken, even though he were a Spaniard, but would present him with a sword and bid him defend his life as long as he was able; and had many wounds in such sort of encounters :" and his countryman, Charlevoix, describes him as having the face and figure of a hero. Sawkins and Daniels, two famous English freebooters, were as doughty Independents as ever upheld the cause of the Commonwealth. Of Sawkins in particular, who had served when a lad in Blake's own vessel—and who quitted England at the