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Captain Charles Vane

Captain Vane's pirating career had several somewhat bizarre twists but he was successful & well known at the time particular in 1718. There are not many references to Vane's origins, but his pirating career is said to have begun when he joined other pirates in 1716. During this time, the pirates were raiding Spanish salvage crew & ships that were recovering silver from galleons that sunk in 1715 off the Florida coast. In May 1718, two captains of plundered vessels reported Vane & his crew to Governor Bennett in Bermuda for his piracy. Vane's crew tortured & killed several men on the two Bermuda sloops (Diamond, William & Martha) with only a few hours of one another. When the new Governor Woodes Rogers arrived on board Delicia with two accompaning Man of Wars (HMS Milford & HMS Rose) in New Providence offering pardons to pirates in late July 1718, Vane set fire to one of his recent French prize sloops & set sail & took a few shots at the entering Man of Wars as he slipped by them. Vane & his crew were reported to be the only pirates in New Providence that did not accept the pardon at Woodes' arrival. Soon after, Woodes sent the fromer pirate Captain Benjamin Hornigold to track down Vane, but Vane was able to loose his persuer.

A couple of days after his flight, Vane captured a sloop which he kept as a consort & sent Yeats aboard to command. In late August or early September, Vane & his consort were operating off the Carolina coast & somewhat similar to what Blackbeard did a few months earlier, by attacking ships entering & leaving Charleston. One of the several ships plundered was a large brigantine from Africa carring 90 blacks. Outraged by the recent string of pirate attacks outside Charleston, the Governor & Council of South Carolina planned to rid the menacing pirates, in particular

Vane, & comissioned two armed sloops led by Colonel William Rhett to find him. By this time, Vane was successful in plundering many ships & Captain Yeats commanding Vane's sloop consort also felt he was becoming a successful pirate. Vane considered his consort & its captain as a subordinate & tendor to him & his larger brigantine & made that point clear to the consort. A few days after the capture of the African ship, Yeats, wanting to finally captain by himself, set sail with ''his'' sloop while the two ships were at anchor at night. With him were an accompanying crew of about 15 & some of Vane's plunder, including the recently captured blacks.

While off Ocracoke Island, North Carolina in September 1718, Vane met up with the fellow pirate Blackbeard and the pirate ships saluted one another & the two pirate crews proceeded to spend a week together in a typical pirate party. After departing company, Vane continued his plundering successes & hoped to meet with Yeats again, but instead plundered a few more vessels from Charleston. Colonel Rhett soon afterwards met up with the plundered vessels & was informed by some of the crew that were captured while in company with the pirates that they overheard their guardians say they were planning to sail south. This was just a deception on Vane's part, for he gave orders to his crew to give contrary statements for the other crew to overhear in case such a predicament as this came up. His plan worked, for Rhett sailed south while Vane actually sailed north. In doing so, Rhett was unsuccessful in locating Vane, but unexpectedly discovered and captured another pirate, Major Stede Bonnet instead.

On November 23, Vane encountered a vessel in the Windward Passage & expected little resistance when they rose their pirate flag. But instead, the vessel retaliated with a broadside & it was discovered to be a French Man of War. With this knowledge, Vane decided to flee the scene & not persue the fight any longer.

Most of the crew felt differently on this matter, but at the time of battle the captain had extreme command. However, the next day after their escape, the crew confronted Vane & stated he was a coward. The crew elected the quarter master, Calico Jack as the new captain of the brigantine & Vane & his fellow supporters were set off on a small sloop.

In the following months, Vane & his new crew started from scratch again quite successfully by plundering several ships. In February, Vane's sloop was wrecked on an uninhabitated island in the Bay of Honduras during a fierce storm where most of the crew drowned, but Vane managed to survive but found himself marooned. Local turtle fishermen who came on canoes helped him survive. Finally, a ship arrived but unfortunatly for Vane she was commanded by an old acquintance, former bucanneer Captain Holford. Holford would not rescue Vane from the island stating, ''Charles, I shan't trust you aboard my ship, unless I carry you a prisoner, for I shall have you caballing with my men, knock me on the head and run away with my ship a pirating.'' And with that, Holford sailed away leaving Vane alone again. Luckily another ship soon arrived & this time no one knew Vane so he was allowed on board. Unluckily, Captain Holford's ship met with this ship & he was invited aboard to dine by the captain. While there, Holford accidently saw Vane working onboard & quickly informed the captain who Vane truly was. On knowing this, the captain definitely did not want Vane on board, so Holford moved him to his ship but now as a prisoner rather than a free man. Holford turned him over to the authorities in Jamaica. He was tried for piracy on March 22, 1720. Found guilty, Vane was hanged at Gallows Point and his body hung in chains at the small islet Gun Cay.

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