Daniel

La Buse the longest serving Golden Age pirate captain?

72 posts in this topic

Salut La Buse,

I assume the source may have come from the colonial state papers, which are online and readable.

As for 1672? i doubt it he would of been 58 at his death, hmmm.

I Thought it would have more than likely been LeVasseur in the begining , which he changed as time went by and built a reputation for himself, as he was a proud pirate going by some of the text of when he was caught by cpt Hermitte who was pretty pleased with himself for capturing La Buse.

I am working on the geneology of him from calais, but do not know if any records still exist given the number of battles france was dealing with around that time. Did he have family in the indian ocean, i believe so.

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Name change was not uncommon, was it not? Edward Teach aka Blackbeard. Edward Seegar aka Edward England. Am still confused on Congdon "Flying Dragon" Also John Taylor aka William Taylor etc

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Changing first names - or, to be more accurate, using more than one first name - was not all that uncommon, but we do have to be careful that we're not talking about different people. For example, there was a Christopher, William, and Samuel Moody, all active pirates 1717-1718, but definitely different people. Sometimes, however, we can be pretty sure it's the same person so, for example, John Taylor is sometimes referred to as Richard Taylor (don't recall 'William', where's that from?), and Cocklyn is usually called Thomas, but occasionally Jeremiah. Congdon is variously spelled Condent or Condon, but they're all the same name just spelled differently, and the only first name I recall from a primary source for him is Edward - quite where the other forenames he gets given came from, I don't know.

Blackbeard and la Buse are the only ones I can think of from the GAoP who adopted an 'alias' as such. Seagar and England were different people.

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As far as i am aware and via the various sources that i have used, predominantly 18th century, all the confusion stems from the meeting of pirates on the west coast of Africa late 1719. At the point where Bartholemew Roberts and Edward England were the main men, they between them decided a meeting was needed as the collection of vessels between them was around 7. At risk of drawing yet more unwanted attention to the activities of theirs , it was decide they should split. Roberts went his own way, Edward England went round the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean. At the meeting they only had one quartermaster, who served all pirate vessels. This change when England went his way, John Taylor was quartermaster, who eventually became a commander of a vessel.(his ego soon took over)

The vessels that England took were "victory" , "fancy" and a snow.(this is where the 2 infamous ships come from and who previously owned them. In amongst this lot La Buse had the snow, it was a vessel of his liking if you go by his form, quick . Plus John Plantain was there aswell, til he decided he wanted to be landed gentry. (with an evil streak) Incidentally, "Indian Queen" was commanded by another pirate, not La Buse. He had the snow.

In relation to William Taylor....this is how letters were signed in return to the Cpt of the vessel who hunted him down to Portobello and who was attempting to persuade Taylor and crew to give up to the British,, when John Taylor was in command of "Cassandra" seeking out his commission from the Spanish.

How did the Cpt know "cassandra" would be there?

Such a stink was caused by this Cpt that he rattled a few official cages and received a blunt reply from Spain.

As for Sigar... In my own personal searching, i can only find his mentioning at the taking of the "cabo" and no where else. although i do have a list of the European crew members of the "cassandra" at Portobello in seeking pardon, non of which mention Sigar/Seegar

Cocklyn, did he not die after attack on fort Wydah? or was that another captain known to la buse , england and taylor. Am confused a little here.

La Buse, got his reputation from being quick and calculated in his attacks, which leans more to the other nickname of his "Le Hawk". perhaps that is more modern poetic prose than reality, i don`t know. However it does suggest that he was a clever , quick thinking man who had his wits about him.

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sea haugh have you read the page 1 of this topic ?

Edited by La Buse

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As far as i am aware and via the various sources that i have used, predominantly 18th century, all the confusion stems from the meeting of pirates on the west coast of Africa late 1719.

I would certainly like to know more about those sources!

At the point where Bartholemew Roberts and Edward England were the main men, they between them decided a meeting was needed as the collection of vessels between them was around 7. At risk of drawing yet more unwanted attention to the activities of theirs , it was decide they should split. Roberts went his own way, Edward England went round the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean. At the meeting they only had one quartermaster, who served all pirate vessels. This change when England went his way, John Taylor was quartermaster, who eventually became a commander of a vessel.(his ego soon took over).

The vessels that England took were "victory" , "fancy" and a snow.(this is where the 2 infamous ships come from and who previously owned them. In amongst this lot La Buse had the snow, it was a vessel of his liking if you go by his form, quick . Plus John Plantain was there aswell, til he decided he wanted to be landed gentry. (with an evil streak) Incidentally, "Indian Queen" was commanded by another pirate, not La Buse. He had the snow.

When was this meeting? Roberts only rose to command in late July 1719, and by September 1719 was on the coast of Brazil. According to the deposition of Henry Hunt, Davis was still alive and in command (and in the Gambia river) at least as late as 5 July. Roberts only took over after Davis was killed at Principe, and according to Thomas Jones, the pirate spent 15-16 days at Principe before Davis was killed. Roberts was in command by 27 July when Thomas Grant was captured in the Experiment. This all suggests that Roberts rose to command in the last week of July 1719. James Bradshaw's testimony is a little vague, but suggests that Roberts was active off Brazil by the first half of September 1719. Your meeting presumably took place in August 1719 then?

According to Richard Moor, by early June 1719 Cocklyn and La Buse were cruising together independently of both Davis and England, and John Taylor was aboard Cocklyn's ship (though he briefly held his own command in the summer of 1719). Therefore none of them were at a meeting with England and Roberts in August, and Taylor was certainly not acting as quartermaster to England and Roberts' company - though it is conceivable that he was acting as joint quartermaster to Cocklyn and La Buse's companies.

When England left the coast of Africa he was not with La Buse. La Buse was sailing in company with Taylor and Cocklyn, and had command of the Duke of Ormond, which he later exchanged for another vessel called the Comrade (or Courade). En route to the Indian Ocean (by which time he was sailing alone), La Buse captured the Indian Queen and took command of her for his own use. This is all pretty unambiguous in the deposition made by one of La Buse's crew (The Examination of John Matthews, 12 October, 1722. HCA 1/55, ff. 20-21)

"Three pirate Ships vizt. the Speakwell Capt Taylor Comd, the Duke of Ormond, Oliver de la Bouche Comd and the Courade, Jeremiah Cocklin Comd; came down the Coast of Guinea to Widaw Road aforesaid and took the aforesaid ship Heroine as she lay at anchor there and carried her to the Island of Coreno a desolate Island upon the said Coast where the pirate ships usually harbour and refit. That before the said ships arrival there the said Jeremiah Cocklin commanded this Examinate and sixteen others of the said ship Heroines Crew on board the sd Pirate ship ye Courade about four of whom went upon their own accord. That afterwards some of them were carried on board the said pirate ships Speakwell and Duke of Ormond and this Examinate and seven more were forced to continue on board the said ship Courade. That the Examinate desired the said Capt de la Bouche (who had exchanged his ship with Capt Cocklin for the sd ship Courade) sev times to set him on shore that he might come home again to England but the said De la Bouche refused to let him go telling him that he wanted hands and must go with him otherwise he would shoot him which he offer’d to do sevl times upon the Exaiates refusing to work onboard the said ships which the Examinate was forc’d afterwards to do for preservation of his life seeing no possibility then to get off. That after the said ship Courade left the Coast of Guinea the said Capt de la Bouche proceeded with her towards the East Indies and in her passage thither met with an English Merchant ship called the Indian Queen laden with slaves which he took and afterwards went onboard the same with all his crew and gave his own ship the Courade to the Comd of the sd ship Indian Queen and put all the men of the said ship Indian Queen onboard the Courade with him except seaven whom he detained onboard his new ship the greatest part of whom were unwilling to stay with him but the sd de la Bouche forced them. That they proceed afterwards to the Island of Mayotte upon the Coast of India to careen their ship."

Neither was England in command of the Victory when he sailed round the Cape of Good Hope. The Victory was captured by Cocklyn. From Richard Moor's testimony:

"And the sd Ship the Speedwell about 5 Days after she was come from Corista took a French Vessell called the Victory (whereof one Captain Hays was Comander) and plundered her and brought her to Cape Lopez and there fitted her out for their service and manned her with the Company of the Speedwell and gave the speedwell to the sd Captain Hays, and from Cape Lopes they proceeded in the sd Ship the Victory under the Comand of the sd Cocklin to Madagascar... and were there joined by two other pirate ships called the Fancy and the John Gally under the Comand of Edward England "

(By the time of the capture of the Victory, La Buse had already left to make his own way round the Cape of Good Hope in the Comrade, and Taylor had rejoined Cocklyn's company when the pirates abandoned the Duke of Ormond.)

John Plantain went to the Indian Ocean as a member of Edward Condent's company, which had also sailed round the Cape independently. Richard Moor again:

"in the Month of December 1721 he the Informt having been forced into the Service of the Pirates was at the Island of St Mary near Madagascar in a Ship called the Cassandra in company with other pirate Ships and he the Informt there saw one Plantin who appeared to be and was (as ye Informt believes) intimately acquainted with many of the Pirates and eat and drank and caroused with them and owned and confessed that he had been a pirate belonging to the Dragon under the Comand of Edward Condon"

In relation to William Taylor....this is how letters were signed in return to the Cpt of the vessel who hunted him down to Portobello and who was attempting to persuade Taylor and crew to give up to the British,, when John Taylor was in command of "Cassandra" seeking out his commission from the Spanish.

How did the Cpt know "cassandra" would be there?

Captain Laws of HMS Mermaid was already on the Spanish Main when Taylor and the Cassandra arrived there. Taylor sent Richard Moor and others to act as envoys to petition for a pardon. When they arrived and found the Mermaid they went on board and delivered the petition to Captain Laws. Captain Laws' own brother acted as a hostage to guarantee Taylor's safety while negotiations were carried out.

As for Sigar... In my own personal searching, i can only find his mentioning at the taking of the "cabo" and no where else. although i do have a list of the European crew members of the "cassandra" at Portobello in seeking pardon, non of which mention Sigar/Seegar

Seagar is mentioned in various sources, with a variety of different spellings. Richard Moor, for example, says "...the Cassandra under the Comand of Jaspar Seater who was made Captain of her in the room of ye sd Edward England (who was turned out of Comand)...";

Cocklyn, did he not die after attack on fort Wydah? or was that another captain known to la buse , england and taylor. Am confused a little here.

Cocklyn died at Madagascar and was replaced by Taylor. You're probably thinking of Howell Davis, Roberts' predecessor, who was killed during an attempt to capture Principe.

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Hi,

i beg to differ with some of that,well quite a bit. however, i shall post soon in response.

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Hi Foxe,

It`s to late for me to fully respond to your post tonight, but i shall, in the meantime;

Are you sure about Cpt Laws?

Did he not arrive in the area with 3 vessels , fully laden with slaves? Where did he get the slaves from? Who sold him the slaves? How did the person selling the slaves so happen to have them?

Find that , and you will know where i am coming from.

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Differ all you like, I shall be delighted to hear alternatives provided that they are well backed up with original and reliable sources.

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Hi,

I will start with John Plantain, born at a place called chocolate hole in Jamica, English Parents. There he lived til almost 20yrs old before moving to Rhode Island.

It was here that he was eventually persuaded to join a pirate crew, himself and the following; John James, Boston, New England, Henry Millis , Falmouth, West of England, Richard Dean of Stepney, London, John Harvey of Shadwell, and Henry Jones , St Paul`s , London. The ship was "terrible" command John Williams, and Roberts being quartermaster.

From there shaped course for Guinea, on route took 3 ships, on one was Mr Moore, a surgeon. Roberts who was the quarter master of the pirate vessel , kept the carpenter and surgeon from the other vessels. They kept the best vessel and called her "defiance" 300 ton / 30 gun. (originally it was "prosperous" bound for Jamaica)

short time after on coast of Guinea, kept vessels from trading at Gambo, and other ports.It was here they met "onslow" had a good battle but got it in the end, they made one of their own whos name was England, Cpt of her.

Shortly after they took a dutch interloper, this ship they liked and called her "fancy" Cpt England took command of it.

England proposed a new voyage, 1st they were to burn "terrible" Having finished their cruise of Guinea, they were resolved to steer another way. At this time they had "fancy" under england, a small brigatine "unity" which was renamed "expedition" and gave command to one Johnson that was with them, though one quartermaster served them all, and being in great dispute of how and which way to dispose of each other, they went ashore on the coast of Guinea and held a meeting. It was divided, some wished to go with England others with Roberts, it lasted some time quarrelling, eventually being left to a committee chosen among them. six or seven vessels among them,it was resolved they should split due to number of vessels before civil war amongst them started.. England took "fancy" the snow, and another ship "victory" and go away to east indies, roberts went his way.

that came from a pirate called John Davis, who had been with Plaintain since Madagascar and then onto India into the service of Angria.

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In relation to Cpt Laws, He was prior in the Indian Ocean.

At the time La Buse and Taylor had split, Taylor making his way back round to the Atlantic, Cpt Law had put in at St Augustine`s "Mermaid" "Renown" "Princess" Right about the time John Plantain had just attacking one of the last local chief`s near St Augustine. The vessels wanted slaves, so Plantain sold the town he just done over, including the women and children to the vessels. He was politely asked several times if he would like to come aboard, all of which he declined.

with that said, perhaps a chat had taken place between Plantain and Laws? where was Taylor going..........

This came from someone within the Commodore Thomas Matthews Squadron

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I will start with John Plantain, born at a place called chocolate hole in Jamica, English Parents. There he lived til almost 20yrs old before moving to Rhode Island...

Ah, your information comes from Clement Downing's Compendious History of the Indian Wars, published in London in 1737...

Sadly, much of Downing's information is proveably wrong. For example, there are multiple first hand source that show that Roberts began his piratical career after Howell Davis captured the merchantman Princess, on which ship he was serving as mate, not under John Williams in the Terrible (of whom no evidence appears to exist outside Downing's book). The Onslow was captured on 8 August 1721 (this is one of the best documented captures of the whole golden age of piracy, so there's no doubt about its date) almost exactly one year after England and co captured the Cassandra at Johanna in his ship the Fancy (again the dates are easily verifiable from the accounts given by people such as Capt McCrae, commander of the Cassandra). The surgeon "Mr Moore" mentioned by Downing is none other than the Richard Moor I quoted in my last post, who says in his own testimony that he was captured and forced to join the pirates "by two pirate Vessels the one called the Speedwell (whereof Jeremiah Cocklin was Comander) and the other the Duke of Ormond (whereof Oliver le Boos was Comander)", not by England or Roberts (in fact, Moore was captured by Cocklyn and La Buse the day after Roberts was captured by Davis).

Sorry, but Downing's version of events is a terrible mish-mash of truth, error, and fiction, and cannot be relied upon at all.

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credit where it`s due , well done sir.

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So i guess any discrepancy in date cannot be put down to use of either julian calander verse gregorian, since the change over happened at the same time, or any possible typo in date, due to human error?

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There are a lot of books from this era (and any era, really) that reprint hearsay, cull information indiscriminately from other sources (often without citing them) and interpret it in their own way or just flat make things up, apparently to sell books. There was much interest in books about oversea goings on during this time period and many writers were willing to feed that interest.

Not long ago, I was reading an interesting book on this topic called Travelers and Travel Liars 1660 - 1800 by Percy Adams.The author notes that a lot of what were considered 'factual' books on overseas history from this period have since been organized under the fiction section by library systems based on what we know now know vs. what they knew then. Yet there is still a lot of misinformation and incorrect facts in books filed as factual as I learned while reading British sea-captain Alexander Hamilton's A new account of the East Indies, 17th-18th century. (Some of it is still so bizarre that I had to reprint it on my web page, like the story under the title A Piratess, a Witch, a Witch Doctor and a Sea Surgeon on this page. While clearly absurd as it is explained, it makes for great reading.)

I think the most interesting thing we can draw from all this is that Richard Moor was a forced surgeon and he gave a rather hard to read testimony that doesn't really help us understand his role among the pirates as a surgeon. (Or maybe that's just the most interesting thing I draw from it.)

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Clement Downing, like a lot of the 'travel' authors of the time, seems to be quite good on the stuff he actually witnessed for himself (with the usual caveats about subjectivity, audience etc), but most of the stuff he wrote about pirates was based on hearsay (at best - some of it was probably just made up to fill in the gaps), and by the time he came to write the book it was 14 year old memory of hearsay.

For the pirate stuff he's nothing like as reliable as the people who were actually there - Richard Moore etc. And, as shown above, some of the stuff he wrote is demonstrably impossible.

However, this conversation has inspired me to look a bit deeper into Captain Laws of the Mermaid - I think there's a healthy chunk of mystery yet to be solved!

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Eye have thoroughly enjoyed all the facts you guys have presented about Le Buse.. Thank you

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Hi,

Wish to chuck out a theory here to gauge how off it may be.... After "Cassandra" was taken by England and Taylor, they went over to India, did their thing, returned back, could it be possible that England was not just marooned because of his persuasion of McRae getting the "fancy" but that he also became ill on this return leg, hence his marooning on a not so deserted island, out of some respect? Would this then lend to a temp command by seegar? But around the same time they went back to find la buse , who got the "victory" and seegar who is prominant but not in command at taking of the "cabo"

Going by Le Mercure and the account of the cabo during the storm and attack it mentioned the ships as victory and fancy. Would/could this not be put down to the Portuguese would not of known that the "cassandra" had been taken, as the Portuguese were busying themselves to leave Goa. British were to busy making a hash of trying to attack various strongholds along the coast and reduce the grief Angria`s fleet was causing. So the discrepancies of which vessels were present could be accounted for in this way. Word of cassandra would have been in Bombay not Goa. Plus Governor Charles Boon was at loggerheads with the portuguese anyway. He only received word the viceroy was leaving a few weeks prior.

The other question i have is, the Ostender which was present when the pirates attacked the "cassandra" when Cpt Kirby "Greenwich" and the Ostender bolted. Is this Ostender / could this Ostender be the same "villa d ostender" that was present at the taking of the "cabo"?

just a thought.

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Mr Fox,

Obviously am in the wrong area for this post , however, watched your input in channel 5 programme this evening and enjoyed it albeit somewhat short at half an hour long.

Could you not of persuaded them into an hour long viewing? Oh and who was the passionate old(ish) guy weilding the cutlass as i missed the start of the program.

As for topic placement, my apologies, yet am sure someone will find somewhere more fitting.

sea haugh

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John Plantain went to the Indian Ocean as a member of Edward Condent's company, which had also sailed round the Cape independently. Richard Moor again:

"in the Month of December 1721 he the Informt having been forced into the Service of the Pirates was at the Island of St Mary near Madagascar in a Ship called the Cassandra in company with other pirate Ships and he the Informt there saw one Plantin who appeared to be and was (as ye Informt believes) intimately acquainted with many of the Pirates and eat and drank and caroused with them and owned and confessed that he had been a pirate belonging to the Dragon under the Comand of Edward Condon"

I was looking this old interesting thread so.

Edward Condent? That is interesting. I wonder how many different names that man has (I wondered this and his ship's in a thread here http://pyracy.com/index.php/topic/19260-condents-dragons-ships-and-his-identity/ ) Johnson in his probably fictional account it seems doesn't even bother to tell his first name.... probably since he didn't know it.

That quote plus other (modern) sources name him in various ways including Billy One Hand (referring likely to William), Edward, Edmund, Edmond, John or William Condent, Congdon, Connor or Condell.

I would say that he might be one of the most mysterious pirates of the age who did steal a lot of booty. His ship(s) and the size of it (them) is another mystery. At least they were "Dragon's".

By the way: What is the most recent view here about the capture of Cassandra and people present?

Edited by Swashbuckler 1700

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Don't forget "Christopher".

AFAIK only Edward and Edmund appear in primary sources, and they're close enough to be almost interchangeable in the 18thC

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Well it isn't so complicated then. Edward and Edmund are rather near to each other (much like Teach and Thatch).

About him: Johnson's book says he robbed a ship named Cassandra which probably isn't right. It seems that because of the lack if information of Condent Johnson claimed that he did the same robberies as Taylor and possibly La Buse. It seems that most of the Condent section of the book might be rubbish.

Johnson claims:

"He met at St Mary's, the Cassandra East-India Man, commanded by Captain James Macragh; he continued his Course for the East-Indies, where he made a very great Booty, and returning, touch'd at the Isle of Mascarenas, where he met with a Portuguese Ship of 70 Guns, with the Vice-Roy of Goa, on board. This Ship he made Prize of, and hearing she had Money on board, they would allow of no Ransom, but carried her to the Coast of Zanguebar, where was a Dutch Fortification, which they took and plunder'd, razed the Fort, and carried off several Men who enter'd voluntarily. From hence they stood for St. Mary's, where they shared their Booty, broke up their Company, and settled among the Natives: Here a Snow came from Bristol, which they obliged to carry a Petition to the Governor of Mascarenas for a Pardon, tho’ they paid the Master very generously. The Governor returned Answer, he would take them into Protection if they would destroy their Ships, which they agreed to, and accordingly sunk the Flying Dragon, &c. Condent and some others went to Mascarenas, where Condent married the Governor's Sister-in-Law, and stay'd some Time; but as I have been credibly inform'd, he is since come to France, settled at St. Maloes, and drives a considerable Trade as a Merchant."

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Hello, i'm new to this forum, this is my first post.

I will start asking sorry in advance for my poor english. I'm a researcher from Rome and i'm doing my master 2 thesis on piaracy on the Caribbean from 1713 to 1730 studying french sources, so i'm still pretty new to the subject (above all for what concerns the English sources). I checked the archives of Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence and Paris and i've found a lot of interesting stuff, but i've still a LOT of documents to read, so i still don't know most of the things i've found (since i'm from Italy i had to be fast in working far from home with few money, so i've done a lot of photos and now i'm reading them with calm from my home).

I'm very interested in La Buse-Olivier Levasseur since i've found more than 1 document about him and i'd like to ask you, what do you know about the ship "Postillon" (or "Postillion")? Do you know, possibly with some sources, if it was captured by Hornigold or by La Buse in person? And it is sure that it was the first ship on which La Buse started his pirates carreer?

This would help me reallly a lot, so Thank you in advance for any kind of help:)

Edited by Davis

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Hi

That is nice. I plan to do my theses for university in the future (years it will take until I have even completed the first part of the education) about something related to early modern era seafaring if not pirates and privateers.

Foxe can reply with better authority, but I have something.

It seems that La Buse had "Postillion" before he joined Hornigold.

Colin Woodard's "The Republic of Pirates" covers some of La Buse's early activity in The Caribbean. On page 135 is said that La Buse who was commanding armed sloop Postillion joined Bellamy and Hornigold in 1716. Postillion had 8 guns.

So it would seem that La Buse captured Postillion by himself.

I hope I could say more.

Edited by Swashbuckler 1700

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About him: Johnson's book says he robbed a ship named Cassandra which probably isn't right. It seems that because of the lack if information of Condent Johnson claimed that he did the same robberies as Taylor and possibly La Buse. It seems that most of the Condent section of the book might be rubbish.

This is truly confusing, part of the information must be wrong but it’s hard to determine which. There is a short discussion of the matter in the book “Shipwrecks of Madagascar” page 195.

Fougeray wrote the following in March 1722, which somewhat speaks for Johnson’s version:

“two pirate ships 40 guns attacked an Ostend and two Englishmen of the Company, and the first British had escaped and the third, named Cassandra was taken after some resistance, the pirates then set foot on land and looted the island Magni Hali, king's son, told me more he knew that the said pirates crossed the Red Sea with several others. In fact, I learned that one of these, mounted 30 guns and commanded by Captain Condom <<yet a spelling of his name!>>, took a ship armed with 60 guns from Surat”

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