Captain Charles BELLAMY.Pirate, Socialist, and orator. A famous West Indian filibuster.
He began life as a wrecker in the West Indies, but this business being uncertain in its profits, and Bellamy being an ambitious young man, he decided with his partner, Paul Williams, to aim at higher things, and to enter the profession of piracy. Bellamy had now chosen a calling that lent itself to his undoubted talents, and his future career, while it lasted, was a brilliant one.
Procuring a ship, he sailed up and down the coast of Carolina and New England, taking and plundering numerous vessels; and when this neighbourhood became too hot for him he would cruise for a while in the cooler climate of Newfoundland.
Bellamy had considerable gifts for public speaking, and seldom missed an opportunity of addressing the assembled officers and crews of the ships he took, before liberating or otherwise disposing of them.
His views were distinctly Socialistic. On one occasion, in an address to a Captain Beer, who had pleaded to have his sloop returned to him, Captain Bellamy, after clearing his throat, began as follows: "I am sorry," he said, "that you can't have your sloop again, for I scorn to do anyone any mischief - when it is not to my advantage -though you are a sneaking puppy, and so are all those who will submit to be governed by laws which rich men have made for their own security, for the cowardly whelps have not the courage otherwise to defend what they get by their knavery. But damn ye altogether for a pack of crafty rascals, and you, who serve them, for a parcel of hen-hearted numbskulls! They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is the only difference that they rob the poor under cover of the law, forsooth, and we plunder the rich under the protection of our own courage. Had you not better make one of us than sneak after these villains for employment?"
Bellamy's fall came at last at the hands of a whaler captain. At the time he was in command of the Whidaw and a small fleet of other pirate craft, which was lying at anchor in the Bay of Placentia in Newfoundland. Sailing from Placentia for Nantucket Shoals, he seized a whaling vessel, the Mary Anne. As the skipper of the whaler knew the coast well, Bellamy made him pilot of his small fleet. The cunning skipper one night ran his ship on to a sand-bank near Eastman, Massachusetts, and the rest of the fleet followed his stern light on to the rocks. Almost all the crews perished, only seven of the pirates being saved. These were seized and brought to trial, condemned, and hanged at Boston in 1726. The days spent between the sentence and the hanging were not wasted, for we read in a contemporary account that "by the indefatigable pains of a pious and learned divine, who constantly attended them, they were at length, by the special grace of God, made sensible of and truly penitent for the enormous crimes they had been guilty of."
Taken from The Pirates' Who's Who:Giving Particulars Of The Lives and Deaths Of The Pirates And Buccaneers by Philip Gosse. Originally published by Burt Franklin of 235 East 44th St., New York 10017 in 1924 and in the public domain.