Pirate George Lowther Plunders a Slaver
The Princess Galley was nearing the end of a voyage which had
taken her from London to the west coast of Africa where she had picked up
a cargo of slaves to take to the English owned plantations on the island
of Barbados in the West Indies. On September 14, 1723 she was approached
by a sloop flying the black flag at her masthead. As the sloop drew
closer, they saw that she was armed with eight guns on her main deck and
ten swivel guns mounted along the rails. There were between thirty and
forty pirates on board lead by the pirate captain
Captain Name) George Lowther.
(2. Slaver Captain Name) Captain
John Wickstead set more sail and endeavored to escape, but the heavily
laden merchant ship was no match for the faster sloop, which gained on her
steadily and began firing her guns. At eight o'clock in the evening the
pirates came alongside and the chase was over. Captain Wickstead was
ordered to send a boat across. The merchant's longboat was hoisted over
the side and rowed across to the pirate ship. Several pirates jumped into
the boat and were ferried back to the Princess Galley.
The next twenty-four hours were a nightmare for Wickstead and his crew.
(3. Ship Surgeon
Name) John Crawford, the ship's surgeon, who was twenty-five, and the second
mate, (4. Second Mate
Name) Goldsmith Blowers, twenty-four, were held down while lighted fuses
were put between their fingers to force them to reveal the whereabouts of
the gold. The pirates were soon in the possession of twenty-four ounces of
gold, and proceeded to ransack the ship. They seized the gunpowder,
pistols, the gunner's stores and bosun's stores. They removed two
quarterdeck guns and two swivel guns and sent them across to the pirate
sloop. Eleven black slaves valued at £500 were taken as well.
Two seamen with specialist skills were forced to join the pirate crew:
they were the ship's carpenter and the surgeon's mate. Two other mates
joined the pirates of their own accord by voluntarily signing the
"Articles of Regulation" of the pirates' ship.
Having stripped the Princess Galley of everything of value, the
pirates sailed away.
September 14, 1723