Continuing my education about pirates, today’s featured book is Eric J Graham’s Seawolves: Pirates and the Scots. Concentrating on my exact period of interest, the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the focus on Scots involved in piracy does not limit its relevance to Captain Thomas Bowrey’s life. A large section of the book concentrates on the case of the Worcester and recognises its significance on Anglo-Scottish relations.
There is a clear description of the event surrounding the Annandale, without which it is extremely unlikely that the Worcester would have been seized by the Scots. Graham also presents the clearest, most comprehensive and balanced account of the happenings in Scotland from the arrival of the ship at Leith to the subsequent consequences. In some ways, it is a shame that Graham’s focus was on piracy and the Scots because I would love to see his forensic examination of the documentation applied to the Worcester before her arrival in Scotland and the case of the Prosperous, which is only mentioned in passing during the story of the Speedy Return and the Content, and Thomas’ other ship.
More generally, Graham demonstrates that for many the hope of adventure, fortune and, even, fame was a huge attraction for those whose life at home was extremely hard during this period. However, he dispels the romanticism by showing that life at sea was even more brutal. Seawolves is strongly recommended.