PERSONAL NOTATIONS BY THE CO-AUTHOR
a: It is thought by most that John Robert left Little Newcastle when he was around 10 years old and never looked back, but I disagree. My research uncovers that most Cabin Boys were 12 to 13 years of age when they signed on, with only rare exceptions. Also, if John Robert did not return to Little Newcastle after his enlistment and live there for a couple years during his early manhood, then how could the towns people, who were living there at the time, be able to tell Daniel Defoe of his Charactor. A boy in his tender years does not possess traits, such as being those recounted by Defoe in his book.
b: Examining the events logically, we must conclude, considering the moral feelings possessed by the brooding John Robert when taken by Hywel Davis, that he, after much contemplation, believed wholeheartedly that a life as a pirate was preordained, though he had no idea until later, just what was to be the true nature of his inescapable future, beyond the joining of their ranks, but ‘tis believed, indubitably, by this author to be Destiny. John, once again being captured by pirates and his quick rise to Captaincy, one can easily draw to the conclusion that those of the Rover knew of John Robert from his days, while sailing with Edward England, which explains his acceptance speechc. John, who was more than capable, yet unable to achieve his well-deserved position as Captain upon a Merchant or Naval vessel, feeling that such obtainment would be possible aboard a pirate vessel. Therefore, now believing this to be the long awaited fulfillment of destiny, he allowed his strong morals and character drive him into becoming the legendary pirate Captain, Bartholomew Roberts. This position, which was unlike that of any that came before him (or since,) allowed him to show to all who opposed him, and with an unmitigated passion, what a grave mistake they had made in denying him a Captaincy.
c: "Since I hath dipp'd my Hands in muddy water and must be a Pyrate, it is better being a Commander than a common Man." As stated above I believe this statement to be a compliation of several thoughts.
The bloodly water that Captain Roberts was referring to was the saving of the pirate crew after the demise of his friend Captain Hwyel Davies.
As for "MUST BE A PYRATE" The quick thinking that saved the pirate crew was not the reason for this statement, but rather the fact that this had been the second time he had been in the company of pirates, the first being with with Edward England. The first of which I also believe was by force, originally, but still, being an exceptional mariner, seaman, and handler of men quickly became mate, just as Hwyel Davies had also offered. I believe that being twice captured convinced John that there was no escaping piracy and after mulling this aspect, in conjunction of the alternative being life on land, he resigned himself to being a pirate and joined the crew.
The third segment of this statement, I believe was expressing, rather humbly, his desire to be a Captain, and feeling that such a position was his true calling and it was this aspect alone that created the living legend.
d: This year, 1718, is in discrepancy with some other biographies found within my website and also the common knowledge within other works, but as the reader of these writings, please be aware that a great deal of research, including much documentation, has shown this to be the way history truly was. In all of history no other pyrate received such notoriety, ever present within the newspapers and communications, thereby providing to those who are determined in their resolve, as am I, much delicious information in with to relish and in my case, as his champion, to place here so the world will not only know but understand this Great Man.
e: It makes perfect sense for John Robert to have opposing feelings as the ones which lead to this parting of the ways. To travel as independent Captains and Crews whilst seeking the same prizes would only lead to eventual confrontations betwixt the crews, especially during the division of booty. An aspect that explains why Captain Roberts limited his crew and fleet to a choice number, following the philosophy, perhaps even instigating it, that a small, well equipped, highly trained attack force moves, not only more efficiently, but also more successfully, as do the assault teams of today.
(All references within this book that refer to what others have written in the books listed below are found by there number only. All other references are found by a Letter or Acronym)
#1: Charles Johnson: A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the most Notorious Pirates.
I want to point out that in this novel is an accounting of the prisoners who were taken for trial. Within this section, of which there are many, the months stated do not correspond with the events in the order told within pages of Bartholomew. I have made a list in my novel, within the last chapter of the biography section, of these prisoners, the ships, when taken, etc. This list was cross-referenced using the other lists and then again within the pages telling the order of events. The major conflict being the year state with the list of prisoners as being January and February 1721, both of which should be listed as 1722. And also the Onslow, which I stipulate to September 1721, as the incident took place prior to the encounter with one Captain Loane in October and after several other ships were plundered in August.
As well as many other date discrepancies
#2: Daniel Defoe: A General History of the Pyrates - (1726 edition)
Source: ‘Los Angeles Public Library; written in the original type’
#3: That Great Pirate
by Aubrey Burl
Before listing any information, I would like to state that this book is, in my opinion, is the definitive work. Aubrey Burl is exceptionally well research, obviously obtaining all the records and documents possible, as have I, from the local Records Office in Pembrokeshire & those found at KEW in London.
Aubrey Burl maintains the ships in consort was not the Hink a Pink, under command of Captain Hall but rather the Royal Hynde and the Morrice a Sloop, Commanded by Captain Fenn (not Fin) was in actually the Morris. He also names the King James as being propery called the Royal James.
I do not however concur with the calling of the Rover, that of the Royall Rover with under the command of Hywel Davis nor early in Captain Roberts’ piratical career for the simple reasoning that the Rover was taken by Walter Kennedy along with the Sagrada Familia when ‘twas believed by him and those men who remained that Captain Roberts had been lost or sunk at sea. Later tho’ a new ship was given the name Royall Fortune (as spelt by Captain Roberts) and she is mentioned in the letter Captain Roberts wrote to the English Governor of St. Christophers on September 26th, 1720. It is obvious that these are different ships.
#4: The Book of Welsh Pirates & Buccaneers
by Terry Breverton
#5: Life Among The Pirates: The Romance and the Reality
by David Cordingly
Same book as Under the Black Flag:
#6: Flags at Sea by Timothy Wilson:
#7: Iron Men & Wooden Woman:
Showing that she was his by choice, not force.
#8: Pirates by David Mitchell:
#9: Pirates by Angus Konstam:
Much of this book is a rehash of information, and, in the case of Captain Roberts, most redundant, but does contain a superb assortment of both color and B/W pictures. The color plate of Bartholomew Roberts, though exceptional in every other respect, is coloured wrong. His suit appears orange and should be crimson; the artist has also neglected the depiction of the famous heavy, multi stand gold necklace and diamond studded cross which he always wore; also Captain Roberts hair is white and should be sable, as should be his eyes. The pistol upon the silk bandoleer* should be significantly lower. His complexion is pale and should be dark, for Captain Roberts had Olive skin that was weathered, which, as some call swarthy, is merely a very dark tan that is common to those with Olive skin, complied with the appearance of one who spends much of their lives outdoors.
*I would like to commend Mr. Konstam of the usage of "silk bandoleer," as opposed to the description, elsewhere called Silk Sling, for Bandoleer is the proper name of that which Captain Roberts wore about his neck in which his Pistols and shot was carried.
In regards to the information: In several places the year of his demise is stated as 1723 while in others it states 1722. The latter is correct.
The book states that there was 300 tons of Gold Dust found between the three ships & should read 3 tons, as the misstated figure is an impossibility. Defoe's book states 2,000 pounds on each ship, which is, no doubt, accurate. Ships are rated not only by their design e.g. Sloop, Frigate, etc. but also in telling their size by tons. This does not imply the weight of the ship, but rather the amount of tonnage the ship can carry within it’s hold in the form of cargo, provisions, water, necessities, etc. Should, if we divided this figure equally between the ships, just for the sake of argument, as equal allotment in shares, we would be saying that each would carry 100 tons of gold dust. The first Royal Fortune, a French ship, was a 220 ton ship, while the Ranger was an 80 ton Sloop, which eventually came to be known as the Little Ranger when they acquired a larger ship, naming her the Great Ranger. Obviously the Little Ranger was not going to carry the 100 tons of Gold Dust, tho’ she was abandoned in the amid the last battle, and seeing she was used as a store ship it is possible the gold belonging to her crew could have been carried onboard the Royal Fortune, but then she would be carrying 200 tons of Gold Dust leaving very little room for provisions, water (which is extremely heavy at 8.8 lbs./gal.), again making the stated amount simply not feasible. It has been documented by newspaper clipping and eyewitness accounts of the period that Captain Roberts ship’s carried about 100 men each, tho’ in 1721 there were 508 men aboard 4 vessels.
The book further states John Walden as being Roberts' lover. This notion, of which has no evidence, much less proof, stems for the thoughts of whom I know not, which supports the theory that because he was a seaman within the days of yore, he must have been homosexual. There is no evidence and again much less proof that sodomy was a ever a part of a seaman’s life. Islands, where the seaman gathered the provisions and water, were plentiful and frequently visited, as fresh food and water must be obtained constantly. The native women of most of these islands were more than willing to prostitute themselves and this is well documented. The need for a woman, should we be so blunt, was never unfulfilled. Also in regards to Captain Roberts, being a most religious man in conjunction with his stringent moral code, simply not of allowed him to engage in such activities. This can be further demonstrated by the man’s articles and record, which clearly show to anyone who truly reads this book (& others) to see just the type of man he was, by way of his actions and propensities, being also a freer of slaves, and in no way prejudice, having among his crew men from all nations, also saw fit to be the dispenser of justice, or a vigilantly if you prefer.
Also the number of ships either, plundered or otherwise sunk or burned is 400, not 200 as stated. The author has, no doubt, neglected to include the incident at Trepassey which involved 150 fishing boats which were either sank with cannon or burnt.
#10: Pirates!: Brigands, Buccaneers, and Privateers in Fact, Fiction, and Legend:
#11: Rebels and Raiders by Frank Sherry:
I hate to be a stickler; not only is this work full of supposition, but I am upset by this author to have conjectured that Captain Roberts disliked himself. Oh no, sir, in my opinion you do not know the man at all. I see NO evidence to support such a theory, in fact I see just the opposite. For Roberts shall be forever the epitome of the individual who is in conflict with the group, as the dispenser of justice and freer of slaves and the piracy in which he engaged, tho’ not it's only purpose, financed these worthy endeavours. Shall those, who can not understand this simple fact please relay to me how the merchant or whomever be so robbed, who cared not for the common man, but only his own gain and in doing so to take away the rights of the individual. How can men of this ilk be considered not the pirate, tho’ by the laws which protected his right to do thus and then call those who tried to right these wrong be called the criminal. Nay, sir. I think not! Further to continue in my, now inflamed temper, which sees me as the defender of this great man, Captain Roberts, to point out that you neglected to take into account that one Walter Kennedy, absconded with the Rover and the ship that carried him to Trepassey, after his initial run ins with Barbados & Martinique was in that of the Sloop captured in the Surinam River.
#12: The Pirates Own Book: Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers
by Marine Research Society:
#13: The Ocean Almanac by Robert Hendrickson:
#14: The Diligent: A Voyage through the Worlds of the Slave Trade by Robert Harms:
#15: Black Bart by Stanley Richards:
#16: Open Secrets by Piet Brinton and Roger Worsley
Definitely worth reading!
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘N’)
#1: Several members of Captain Roberts’ crew saved the life of Thomas Grant that day, though six months had past before Mister Grant was finally successful in his repeated attempts to escape.
#2: Lle du Diable in now known as Devil's Island and at one time was a penal colony.
#3: A&E: "The Pirate Ships" Biography on several pirates including Captain Roberts.
#4: Pembrokeshire Snippets
#5: Equal to £70,000 l.
#6: Upon the Royal Fortune there was a crew of 276; 48 of whom were Negroes and the rest of which were mostly Englishmen. On the Good Fortune were 100 white men and 40 Negroes.
#7: This first encounter with the H.M.S. Swallow and Mister Robert Armstrong is, as far as this author knows, fictional. Simply a way to show how Mister Armstrong may of boarded the Royal Fortune and perhaps also showing why Captain Ogle, of the British Navy was so hell bent of chasing down Captain Roberts.
#8: Discrepancy lies with in the historical records betwixt this 22-gun Dutch Interloper, which also seems to be the 32-gun Dutch Slaver that was originally christened the Ranger, later becoming the Great Ranger.
#9: Casnewydd Bach (Little Newcastle-in English), pronounced "Gas Newy’ Bach," in Welsh is located in Pembrokeshire County, Southwest Wales and is situated approximately 5 miles Southwest of Fishguard, a major port. In the days of Captain Roberts, Haverfordwest, which lies about 10 miles Southwest was also major port. The village was incorrectly spelt Newey-bagh, by both Charles Johnson & Daniel Defoe.
#10: George Robert of Casnewydd Bach, who had also, a son named William, is the father of John Robert aka Bartholomew Roberts. George Robert can be found within the Pembrokeshire Hearth Tax list of 1670. A copy of this document shall be located at the back of my forth coming book. It should be noted that the last names during the period very often varied in spelling, in this case of the Robert family an ‘s’ was infrequently added, a fact that is confirmed in the Last Will & Testimates left by both William, named above and one of his sons, John. Copies of both will be also be found within my forth coming book.
#11: aka John Eastwell
#12: aka Carriacou
#13: I SHALL EXPLAIN THE REASONING FOR THE NAMING OF THESE SHIPS IN THIS ORDER.
High Court Admiralty Papers, PRO
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘HCA’)
1: Stephenson, Second Mate; John Eshwell, ship's carpenter; William Gittus, a gunner. James Bradshaw, John Jessup, John Owen, Thomas Rogers and John Robert.
2: Experiment. 1/54, 119 (Grant)
3: 13 Men Marooned. 1/49
4: St. Barthelemy: 1/55, 53
Calendar State Papers
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘CSP’)
1: This info taken from ‘That Great Pyrate,’ by Aubrey Burl who, within his extensive list of sources wrote on page 231, under Chapter 8 #11: "The Raid on Ferryland: WJ or BG, Novelber 26, 1720. Newfoundland shipping: CSP (col), October 3, 1720, 165-9, no.251.
Colonial Office Papers, PRO
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘COP’)
1: Temperance. 31/15. Barbados minutes; 518
2: Philippa Sloop. 31/15. 1140
3: Benjamin. 31/15. 1175
4: Joseph Sloop. 31/15. 1140
5: Letter from Placentia 194/6/83, 367.
Cape Coast Castle Trial. Direct Testimony, March 1722
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘T’)
1: Letters: Bundle 104; London Gazette, January 28th, 1721; Appleby's Original Weekly Journal, July 1, 1721
Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, BMRR
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘CSP’)
1: CSP 31/14, 1
2: Robert Dunn: #251.
3: St. Christophers: October 3, 1720, 165-9 & also reported within the Newpaper's, Weekly Journal and also British Gazette, December 3, 1720. More information found within the Colonial Office Papers, PRO.
Public Record Office: London, England.
(Henceforth and within this book is referred to as ‘PRO’)