This is the
foul fiend Flibbertigibbet: he begins at curfew, and walks till
the first cock; he gives the web and the pin, squints the eye, and
makes the hare-lip; mildews the white wheat, and hurts the poor creature
of the earth.
-- Wm Shakespeare
of the Flibbertigibbet
Now shall we, as
faithful Historians, begin a History of the rambling Lives of the
Crew of the Flibbertigibbet. Some may be tempted to
think the whole Story no better than a Novel or Romance; but since
it is supported by many Witnesses, I mean their Victims,
the Truth of it can no more be contested.
seeks out his Widow
long thought dead by his wife,
Diver, ship'd himself to London Town fully two years
after his disappearance, to bear her Company again.
He found her
languishing in Newgate Prison. Madge's surprise at seeing her
(a rarity in MacThoy
proved to be such a shock for the fair Widow that she fainted
her, Diver told her what had transpir'd while absent from her.
press ganged, Diver sail'd in honest employ until his
Vessel met Dispute with pirates, which cost him his left eye.
articles with the pirates, figuring to
improve his lot.
bold & daring Fellow, he claimed his
greatest hardship was that there was not one Publick-House about. His fellow Rovers dubbed him "Dead-Eye
company with the Rovers when they arrived at
Bay, a MacThoy stronghold. Living amongst the MacThoy
left him racked with homesickness for his own wife. There after
he oblig'd himself to return to her Company.
situation was bleak indeed. Her trial was expected
to end with her either at Tyburn Tree or being transported.
to the Widow's Club where they set to
scheming. With Jonathon Wild, the Thief-catcher after them,
the Widows knew that soon all of their
would languish in Newgate.
They resolv'd to leave salvage Madge and London that very night.
for Fugmore Bay
sprung Madge and repaired to the wharf. There they discover'd
Diver at the merchant ship he had come to London on. They
helped him and his messmates with their task, that of taking command
of the ship. It was an easy matter to toss the
Come morning the
newly formed Crew set to tactics. They resolv'd to go on the
Account. A few, in their newly found sobriety, opted to
retire and were given over to a long boat.
The Widows merrily
convinced the rest of the
revolt'd Crew to choose Dead-Eye as the new Captain and that they
should set saile for the pyrate stronghold of Fugmore Bay, well known as a safe Retreat, brimming with all the
Pleasures that Luxury and Wantonness could bestow where they might
drink & carouse as long as there was Liquor left. The crew
rechristened the ship Flibbertigibbet
set to learning a new
trade from their freshly met brothers-- that of sailing and pyrating.
dwindled and tho' they'd took two sloops during their journey, they
were obliged to make anchor near St Christoper's. Ashore, the
Widows endeavored to outvie each other in Dress & Behaviour to
attract the good Graces of generous Lovers but in vain. The
mad & riotous Manner of their Company's Living alarm'd the
Country where-ever they came, drinking and roaring at such a Rate,
that the People shut themselves up in their Houses.
Exquemelin mentions them in his journals on piracy:
. .they squander in one month all that they have earned in the
previous two years. The spirits pour like water.
Tapping a full cask of wine, they guzzle it down in unbelievable
short time. After they have spent everything they have, they
live a little while on credit, then return home. . .
The Company was
known for the Destruction & Havock they made. They
plundered fabric vessels and boats loaded down with Liquor to
satisfy their Wardrobe wants and their Legendary Thirst.
larked about with the passengers setting up bizarre games but
a kind Word sooth'd the Pyrates and oft
times, the Victims escaped with only rough treatment.
with her first--and ironically
-- final husband,
Dead-Eye. In the background are the colours the Blackguard MacThoi
flew--A skull over clan signet.--ed
Whether the pirates were executed or not, I
have never heard.
Researchers believe their Adventures might have been the seed for the
Pirates of Penzance. Their erratic treatment of victims thought of in that day
as Gentle Manners forced other Blackguards of the day to mount great
brutalities to keep the People afeared of them. Blackbeard the
Pirate swore if he ever got ahold of the MacThoys he would
make them suffer for their larking about.--ed
An Account of a Pyrate Raid
Madge and her husband found
themselves irritat'd at the lack of fabric stores available in
rounded up a crew set to sea taking fabric vessels.
(This section of the sailing
community managed to survive relatively unmolested in pyrate waters
prior Madge's arrival.--ed)
She delighted in
holds stuffed with fabric and dress making goods. Victims of
her attacks report the horrifying sight of crimson sails as if
soaked in gore and her crew obviously sotted.
One ship they
took boast'd a particularly hotheaded Captain. He carelessly used rough
language with the pyrates, calling Madge and the Widows "mawks"
and "a parcel of furies." He enraged the Pyrates to
such an extent that they us'd him barbarously and flung him over the
side. The remaining
crew and passengers gained from his example and thus repaired to use
better manner with the rogues.