Companion to Day Twenty-Six: The Trial

5:30am

‘Do we fight now?’ I asked.

Sol said, ‘Anyone got a sword? No? Never mind. Oldy – come.’

We waited in silence, and heard nothing at all.

 9:00am

Sol said, ‘They’re all asleep.’

‘A healing sleep,’ Oldy said, ‘which I wish I had time to give you.’

We scoffed pie before we started work.

 

12:00 midday

We locked the pirates in their filthy cell. Then we stole their cannons, food, and water. And soap. And all their boats. And LOTS of rum.

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Pirates would quite often hole up on an island and chill for a while. Like anyone on holiday, they’d get bored. This is an account of a mock trial Captain Anstis’ crew put on while on land (it is quoted directly from the 1794 book I keep quoting from – “A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates” – which he probably had repeated to him from people who were there – assuming he wasn’t one of them himself). There are three characters – the judge, the accused, and the Attorney General (like a prosecutor).

Attorn Gen: [long speech] I hope your Lordship will order the fellow to be hanged.

Judge: Heark’ee me, sirrah, you lousy, pittiful, ill-look’d Dog; what have you to say why you should not be tuck’d up immediately, & set a Sundrying like a Scare-Crow? Are you guilty, or not guilty?

Prisoner: Not guilty, an’t please your Worship.

Judge: Not guilty! say so again, sirrah, and I’ll have you hang’d without any Tryal.

Prisoner: An’t please your Worship’s Honour, my Lord, I am as honest a poor Fellow as ever went between Stem and Stern of a ship, and can hand, reef, steer, and clap two Ends of a Rope together, as well as e’er a He that ever cross’d salt Water; but I was taken by one George Bradley [the name of the “judge”], a notorious Pyrate, a sad Rogue as ever was unhang’d, and he forc’d me, an’t please your Honour.

Judge: Answer me, Sirrah, how will you be Try’d?

Prisoner: By God and my Country.

Judge: [swearing] Why then, Gentlemen of the Jury, I think we have nothing to do but proceed to Judgement.

Attorn Gen: Right, my Lord; for if the Fellow should be suffer’d to speak, he may clear himself, and that’s an Affront to the Court.

Prisoner: Pray, my Lord, I hope your Lordship will consider–

Judge: Consider! How dare you talk of considering? Sirrah, Sirrah, I never consider’d in all my life. I’ll make it Treason to consider.

Prisoner: But, I hope, your Lordship will hear some Reason.

Judge: D’y hear how the Scoundrel prates? What have we to do with Reason? I’d have you know, Raskal, we don’t sit up here to hear Reason; we go according to Law. Is our Dinner ready?

Attn Gen: Yes, my Lord.

Judge: Then, heark-ee, you Raskal at the Bar; hear me, Sirrah, hear me. You must suffer, for three Reasons; first, because it is not fit I should sit here as Judge, and no Body be hang’d; secondly, you must be hang’d, because you have a [swearing] hanging Look: And thirdly, you must be hang’d because I am hungry; for know, Sirrah, that ’tis a Custom, that whenever the Judge’s Dinner is ready before the Tryal is over, the Prisoner is to be hang’d of Course.

There’s Law for you, ye Dog. So take him away Gaoler.

2 thoughts on “Companion to Day Twenty-Six: The Trial

  1. I wish to object to your latest twitter post. There have been no pictures on this blog for weeks! 😉

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