On This Day: 30 June 1697

In Thomas Bowrey’s papers there is a manuscript in his handwriting believed to have been transcribed from a letter written by Andrew Somerhill to the Governor of Bombay describing his experience of being taken by pirates at Madagascar. The narrative says:

June 1697 went from England, to Guinea, St. Hellena, Natal, Tolear, … there took by Pyratts, ye Pirattes went from thence to Myotta, there I was left … Seeing a sloop, Somerhill and the rest of the crew expected to be rescue but, unfortunately, it was a pirate vessel and they were captured again but released. By 14 April 1700 they arrived at Patta where they were entertained by a merchant. They found an Arab garrison but, here, everyone but Somerhill and one other Englishman were murdered. The merchant had saved his life.

Having experienced a number of losses due to pirates, throughout his time in England, Bowrey collected information about acts of piracy and developed scheme for overcoming them.

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