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


Pirates 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.

Diver seeks out his Widow

Roderick Diver, long thought dead by his wife, Madge 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 "dead" husband (a rarity in MacThoy tradition) proved to be such a shock for the fair Widow that she fainted dead away. 

Upon reviving her, Diver told her what had transpir'd while absent from her.  After being press ganged, Diver sail'd in honest employ until his Vessel met Dispute with pirates, which cost him his left eye.  He signed articles with the pirates, figuring to improve his lot.

A bold & daring Fellow, he claimed his greatest hardship was that there was not one Publick-House about.  His fellow Rovers dubbed him "Dead-Eye Rick." 

He parted company with the Rovers when they arrived at Fugmore 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.

Madge's situation was bleak indeed.  Her trial was expected to end with her either at Tyburn Tree or being  transported.  Diver repaired 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 Sewing Club would languish in Newgate.  They resolv'd to leave salvage Madge and  London that very night.

How They made Saile
 for Fugmore Bay

The widows 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 unwanted drunken mariners over.

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 heartily agreed.

They rechristened the ship Flibbertigibbet  and set to learning a new trade from their freshly met brothers-- that of sailing and pyrating.


Provisions 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.

Alexandre 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. 

Madge often 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.

Madge Diver 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.

MacThoy 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 Fugmore Bay.

They smartly 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.

Last modified: October 01, 2005

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