Sunday, June 7, 2009
One of our colorful ancestors:
Captain Edmund Du Chastel of Philadelphia, PA
At the close of the seventeeth century the port of Philadelphia was a veritable haven for the pirates that preyed upon the Spanish and French shipping in time of war under letters of marque; and in time of peace on any ship they dared board. It was the practice of wealthy Philadephians to outfit ships with arms, rum and supplies and send them to the pirates of Madagascar who could offer inexchange the cargos taken from India merchantmen.
So great was the complaint of Colonial shippers that the Admirality sent Captain Thomas Robinson from England with a commission to put an end to piracy in Philadelphia. The report of the commissioner to has superior, the Earl of Romney, describes his visit to Philadelphia on June 6, 1697, and complains of his lack of success in "That there were warrants out for apprehending Charles Goss, Edmond Duke Castell, George Thompson, Adam Birth, and James Miller and Pyrates notwithstanding which they were publickly and dayly seen up and down the streets of Philadelphia without any notice taken of them." ("Archives of Maryland," vol. 23,page 161; Vol. 25, page 569.)
"The Pyrats were much alarm'd at that time," wrote MatthewVanderheydens on July 15, 1697, "being I was tould Occasion'd by Captain Thomas Robinson his Comming up there with some Commission to call them to Accot..." (Ibid, Vol. 23, page 163.)