On This Day: 31 March 1706

On this day in 1706, a second copy was made of the affidavit of Israel Phippany and Peter Freeland two of the crew of the Scottish Company’s Speedy Return. They had been captured and forced to turn pirate when their ship was taken by the pirate, John Bowen, and escaped while at Mauritius. They obtained a berth home to England on the Raper Galley.

They arrived in Portsmouth just in time to provide vital evidence about what happened for the trial of the captain and crew of Bowrey’s ship, the Worcester, who had been suspected of an act of piracy against the Speedy Return. Their affidavit was rushed to London where this copy was made. It was sent onto Edinburgh, where the trial was taking place, together with a plea for clemency by Queen Anne. With timing suited to a television drama, the messenger arrived in the city three hours before the scheduled execution of the captain and two of his crew. The affidavits were dismissed  and the executions went ahead as planned.

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