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THE FEMALE CAPTIVE
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:15 pm    Post subject: THE FEMALE CAPTIVE Reply with quote

THE FEMALE CAPTIVE


LUCRETIA PARKER
THE event which is here related is the capture by the Pirates of the English
sloop Eliza Ann, bound from St. Johns to Antigua, and the massacre of the whole
crew (ten in number) with the exception of one female passenger, whose life, by
the interposition of Divine Providence, was miraculously preserved. The
particulars are copied from a letter written by the unfortunate Miss Parker (the
female passenger above alluded to) to her brother in New York.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

St. Johns, April 3, 1825.

Dear Brother,

You have undoubtedly heard of my adverse fortune, and the
shocking incident that has attended me since I had the pleasure
of seeing you in November last. Anticipating your impatience to
be made acquainted with a more circumstantial detail of my
extraordinary adventures, I shall not on account of the interest
which I know you must feel in my welfare, hesitate to oblige
you; yet, I must declare to you that it is that consideration alone
that prompts me to do it, as even the recollection of the scenes
which I have witnessed you must be sensible must ever be
attended with pain: and that I cannot reflect on what I have
endured, and the scenes of horror that I have been witness to,
without the severest shock.

I shall now, brother, proceed to
furnish you with a detail of my misfortunes as they occurred,
without exaggeration, and if it should be your wish to
communicate them to the public, through the medium of a
public print, or in any other way, you are at liberty to do it, and I
shall consider myself amply rewarded if in a single instance it
proves beneficial in removing a doubt in the minds of such,
who, although they dare not deny the existence of a Supreme
Being, yet disbelieve that he ever in any way revealed Himself
to his creatures. Let Philosophy (as it is termed) smile with pity
or contempt on my weakness or credulity, yet the
superintendence of a particular PROVIDENCE, interfering by
second causes, is so apparent to me, and was so conspicuously
displayed in the course of my afflictions, that I shall not banish it
from my mind from the beginning to the end of my narration.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the 28th February I took passage on board the sloop Eliza
Ann, captain Charles Smith, for Antigua, in compliance with the
earnest request of brother Thomas and family, who had advised
me that they had concluded to make that island the place of their
permanent residence, having a few months previous purchased
there a valuable Plantation. We set sail with a favorable wind,
and with every appearance of a short and pleasant voyage, and
met with no incident to destroy or diminish those flattering
prospects, until about noon of the 14th day from that of our
departure, when a small schooner was discovered standing
toward us, with her deck full of men, and as she approached us
from her suspicious appearance there was not a doubt in the
minds of any on board, but that she was a Pirate.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When within a
few yards of us, they gave a shout and our decks were instantly
crowded with the motley crew of desperadoes, armed with
weapons of almost every description that can be mentioned, and
with which they commenced their barbarous work by
unmercifully beating and maiming all on board except myself.
As a retreat was impossible, and finding myself surrounded by
wretches, whose yells, oaths, and imprecations, made them more
resemble demons than human-beings, I fell on my knees, and
from one who appeared to have the command, I begged for
mercy, and for permission to retire to the cabin, that I might not
be either the subject or a witness of the murderous scene that I
had but little doubt was about to ensue. The privilege was not
refused me. The monster in human shape (for such was then his
appearance) conducted me by the hand himself to the
companionway, and pointing to the cabin said to me, "Descend
and remain there and you will be perfectly safe, for although
Pirates, we are not barbarians to destroy the lives of innocent
females!" Saying this he closed the companion doors and left me
alone, to reflect on my helpless and deplorable situation.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is indeed impossible for me, brother, to paint to your imagination
what were my feelings at this moment; being the only female on
board, my terror it cannot be expected was much less than that
of the poor devoted mariners! I resigned my life to the Being
who had lent it, and did not fail to improve the opportunity
(which I thought it not improbable might be my last), to call on
Him for that protection, which my situation so much at this
moment required—and never shall I be persuaded but that my
prayers were heard.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I remained in this situation, by the sound of the clashing
of swords, attended by shrieks and dismal groans, I could easily
imagine what was going on on deck, and anticipated nothing
better than the total destruction by the Pirates of the lives of all
on board. After I had remained about one hour and a half alone
in the cabin, and all had become silent on deck, the cabin doors
were suddenly thrown open, and eight or ten of the Piratical
crew entered, preceded by him whom I had suspected to be their
leader, and from whom I had received assurances that I should
not be injured.

By him I was again addressed and requested to
banish all fears of personal injury—that they sought only for the
money which they suspected to be secreted somewhere on board
the vessel, and which they were determined to have, although
unable to extort a disclosure of the place of its concealment by
threats and violence from the crew.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pirates now commenced
a thorough search throughout the cabin, the trunks and chests
belonging to the captain and mate were broken open, and rifled
of their most valuable contents—nor did my baggage and stores
meet with any better fate, indeed this was a loss which at this
moment caused me but little uneasiness. I felt that my life was in
too much jeopardy to lament in any degree the loss of my
worldly goods, surrounded as I was by a gang of the most
ferocious looking villains that my eyes ever before beheld, of
different complexions, and each with a drawn weapon in his
hand, some of them fresh crimsoned with the blood (as I then
supposed) of my murdered countrymen and whose horrid
imprecations and oaths were enough to appal the bravest heart!
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Their search for money proving unsuccessful (with the
exception of a few dollars which they found in the captain's
chest) they returned to the deck, and setting sail on the sloop,
steered her for the place of their rendezvous, a small island or
key not far distant I imagine from the island of Cuba, where we
arrived the day after our capture. The island was nearly barren,
producing nothing but a few scattered mangroves and shrubs,
interspersed with the miserable huts of these outlaws of
civilization, among whom power formed the only law, and every
species of iniquity was here carried to an extent of which no
person who had not witnessed a similar degree of pollution,
could form the most distant idea.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As soon as the sloop was brought to an anchor, the hatches were
thrown off and the unfortunate crew ordered on deck—a
command which to my surprise was instantly obeyed, as I had
harboured strong suspicions that they had been all murdered by
the Pirates the day previous. The poor devoted victims, although
alive, exhibited shocking proofs of the barbarity with which they
had been treated by the unmerciful Pirates; their bodies
exhibiting deep wounds and bruises too horrible for me to
attempt to describe! Yet, however great had been their
sufferings, their lives had been spared only to endure still greater
torments. Being strongly pinioned they were forced into a small
leaky boat and rowed on shore, which we having reached and a
division of the plunder having been made by the Pirates, a scene
of the most bloody and wanton barbarity ensued, the bare
recollection of which still chills my blood.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having first divested
them of every article of clothing but their shirts and trousers,
with swords, knives, axes, etc., they fell on the unfortunate crew
of the Eliza Ann with the ferocity of cannibals. In vain did they
beg for mercy and intreat of their murderers to spare their lives.
In vain did poor Capt. S. attempt to touch their feelings and to
move them to pity by representing to them the situation of his
innocent family; that he had a wife and three small children at
home wholly dependent on him for support. But, alas, the poor
man intreated in vain. His appeal was to monsters possessing
hearts callous to the feelings of humanity.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having received a
heavy blow from one with an ax, he snapped the cords with
which he was bound, and attempted an escape by flight, but was
met by another of the ruffians, who plunged a knife or dirk to his
heart. I stood near him at this moment and was covered with his
blood. On receiving the fatal wound he gave a single groan and
fell lifeless at my feet. Nor were the remainder of the crew more
fortunate. The mate while on his knees imploring mercy, and
promising to accede to anything that the vile assassins should
require of him, on condition of his life being spared, received a
blow from a club, which instantaneously put a period to his
existence! Dear brother, need I attempt to paint to your
imagination my feelings at this awful moment?
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will it not
suffice for me to say that I have described to you a scene of
horror which I was compelled to witness! and with the
expectation too of being the next victim selected by these
ferocious monsters, whose thirst for blood appeared to be
insatiable. There appeared now but one alternative left me,
which was to offer up a prayer to Heaven for the protection of
that Being who has power to stay the assassin's hand, and "who
is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we can ask or
think,"—sincerely in the language of scripture I can say, "I
found trouble and sorrow, then called I upon the name of the
Lord."
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remained on my knees until the inhuman wretches had
completed their murderous work, and left none but myself to
lament the fate of those who but twenty-four hours before, were
animated with the pleasing prospects of a quick passage, and a
speedy return to the bosoms of their families! The wretch by
whom I had been thrice promised protection, and who seemed to
reign chief among them, again approached me with hands
crimsoned with the blood of my murdered countrymen, and,
with a savage smile, once more repeated his assurances that if I
would but become reconciled to my situation, I had nothing to
fear.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was indeed something truly terrific in the appearance
of this man, or rather monster as he ought to be termed. He was
of a swarthy complexion, near six feet in height, his eyes were
large, black and penetrating; his expression was remarkable, and
when silent, his looks were sufficient to declare his meaning. He
wore around his waist a leathern belt, to which was suspended a
sword, a brace of pistols and a dirk. He was as I was afterward
informed the acknowledged chief among the Pirates, all
appeared to stand in awe of him, and no one dared to disobey his
commands. Such, dear brother, was the character who had
promised me protection if I would become reconciled to my
situation, in other words, subservient to his will. But, whatever
might have been his intentions, although now in his power,
without a visible friend to protect me, yet such full reliance did I
place in the Supreme Being, who sees and knows all things, and
who has promised his protection to the faithful in the hour of
tribulation, that I felt myself in a less degree of danger than you
or any one would probably imagine.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the day drew near to a close, I was conducted to a small
temporary hut or cabin, where I was informed I might repose
peaceably for the night, which I did without being disturbed by
any one. This was another opportunity that I did not suffer to
pass unimproved to pour out my soul to that Being, who had
already given me reasons to believe that he did not say to the
house of Jacob, seek you me in vain. Oh! that all sincere
Christians would in every difficulty make Him their refuge; He
is a hopeful stay.
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