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When he sets to work to
by the thirst for revenge. recapture his ship, he determines in his own mind exactly how many of the seven Frenchmen on board are to die in the conflict. He will kill three and no more, because three of his old shipmates had perished in their prison at Dinan, and when he was back in England again, he would enter aboard a fireship, in order to avenge the other four hundred men who had died in the same prison. Lyde is singularly pious, and has no doubt that the bloody work he undertakes will be blessed by God. He reads the Bible to the boy who is his companion, in order to convince him of the justice of their enterprise. Special providences encourage him in his purpose: when he prays for a south wind, the south wind comes; when for a south-west, south-west it is. At the last, with one brief prayer, he springs upon his enemies: 'Lord, be with us and strengthen us in the action.'
Very remarkable too is Lyde's forethought. He throws away his cap, so that if he gets a blow upon the head in the struggle, he may be killed rather than stunned. He drinks a pint of wine and 'half-a-pint of oil' to make him 'more fit for action.'
Lyde's account of the death struggle in the little low cabin is extremely graphic; but the most horribly vivid thing in his story is the picture of the wounded man, with the blood streaming from his forehead, 'beating his hands upon the deck to make a noise, that the men at the pump might hear: for he would not cry nor speak.' Finally, to counterpoise this tragedy, we have just the one touch of comedy the drama requires, in the broken French Lyde puts into the mouths of the vanquished. 'Moy travalli pur Angleterre se vous plea,' cry his sometime masters, putting
off their hats, and then like Pistol to the French prisoners after Agincourt, his fury abates, and he promises to show mercy. We leave Lyde at last after his return to England, robbed by the lawyers of the bulk of his well-earned salvage money, but wearing the golden chain Queen Mary has given him, and looking forward confidently to preferment in the
The narrative of Henry Pitman, unlike those of Peeke and Lyde, is a narrative of sufferings, not of daring deeds. The adventures he met with were forced upon him by his attempt to escape from captivity; and apart from the boldness with which he faced the dangers of the sea, he was evidently not a man to thrust himself into perils which it was possible to avoid. The peaceable surgeon was drawn into his strange experiences by fortune, just as he was accidentally involved in the fate which befell the men who had fought for Monmouth. As an account of the servitude to which the western rebels were condemned Pitman's story should be compared with that of his fellow-sufferer, John Coad. Coad's narrative, probably written about 1692, was published first in 1849 under the title of A Memorandum of the Wonderful Providences of God to a poor unworthy creature during the time of the Duke of Monmouth's Rebellion and to the Revolution in 1688.' But while Coad had actually fought for Monmouth and had received two wounds in his service, Pitman was a non-combatant, and the one passed his period of servitude in Jamaica, the other in Barbadoes. Pitman's narrative was freely employed by Sir Walter Besant, in the historical novel entitled For Faith and Freedom, which he published in 1889. Lord Macaulay, who read Coad's narrative in manuscript, refers to it as giving 'the best
account of the sufferings of those rebels who were sentenced to transportation,' but it is evident that he never saw Pitman's Relation. Had he done so, it would have saved him from a serious error. As is well known to most of the readers of Macaulay's History, one of the most controverted questions connected with it is the justice of the author's treatment of the character of William Penn. Amongst other charges, Macaulay accuses Penn of being the agent employed to extract the ransom of the 'Maids of Taunton' from their relatives. The advocates of the Quaker hero showed that the mysterious 'Mr. Penne' employed in this transaction was probably a certain George Penne employed in another business of the same kind. Macaulay for a number of insufficient reasons refused to accept this correction, and insisted that 'Mr. Penne' necessarily meant Mr. William Penn. One of his arguments was that it was too big a business for an obscure scoundrel like George Penne to be employed in. Pitman's narrative, however, shows that George Penne was regularly engaged in the buying and selling of prisoners, and completes the case against Macaulay's view. Mr. John Paget in his Paradoxes and Puzzles (p. 13), published in 1874, undertook a refuta tion of Macaulay's charge against Penn, but Pitman's evidence on this point was unknown to him. Its bearing on the question was first pointed out by Mr. C. E. Doble in two letters to the Academy for April 15, 1893, and March 23, 1895. Entries in the Calendar of Colonial State Papers for 1685-1688 still further strengthen the case against George Penne (p. 651).
Apart from its value as a contribution to the history of the sufferers in Monmouth's rising, Pitman's tract also throws some light on the history of the West Indian pirates
with whom the fugitives were thrown into contact during their stay at Tortuga. Captain Yanche, whom Pitman mentions, reappears in the Colonial State Papers as Captain Yankey, who surrendered in 1687 to the governor of Jamaica. New Providence, which Pitman visited, became subsequently the chief rendezvous of privateersmen in those seas.1 It is curious to note that these pirates were all strongly in favour of Monmouth, no doubt because these constant hostilities with the Spaniards had sharpened their Protestant zeal. John Whickers's captivity at Santiago, and his enforced service on a Spanish privateer, supplies an instance of the fate which befell English sailors who fell into the hands of the Spaniards, whether the said sailors were pirates or traders.
The adventurous voyage from Barbadoes, and the experiences of the castaways on the island of Tortuga, have an interest of a more romantic nature. Sometimes, as Mr. Arber is careful to point out, we are reminded of incidents in Robinson Crusoe; and it is by no means unlikely that Defoe was familiar with Pitman's narrative, for he claimed to have been out with Monmouth himself, and at all events was specially interested in the subject of the ill-fated rebellion. The picture of Pitman and his comrades living on turtles and whelks, with occasional sea birds 'which did eat extreme fishy,' suggests comparison with Crusoe; though Crusoe was never so destitute of tobacco as to be driven to smoke wild sage in a crab's claw.
C. H. FIRTH.
1 Lucas, Historical Geography of the British Colonies, ii. p. 79.