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Aboard the Adventure in 1718, Lieutenant Robert Maynard tortures, then shoots and kills Blackbeard





British rule involved mistreating slaves to tend plantations, as revenue for the Crown. The rights and wrongs of which sent mixed signals, where the level of moral corruption amounted to a staggering hypocrisy, and acceptance of the human suffering it caused. Telling us much about the character of colonial slave masters and politicians. Many of which traits and ceremonies survive to this day in the United Kingdom.


Lieutenant Robert Maynard saw it as his job to enforce British rule, regardless of the Empire being based on slavery and human suffering. He was on the lookout for other opportunities, such as seizing a share of pirates booty - for himself.


On February 18, 1710 Queen Anne appointed Alexander Spotswood as vice governor of Virginia. Spotswood was ambitious and greedy for a share in the spoils of war. War, being against pirates and native American Indians.


The most famous and feared or the pirates was Edward Teach, who went down in history as Blackbeard. He had recently returned to sail the seas, having received the King's pardon and having later surrendered to the governor of North Carolina, Charles Eden, who was probably in cahoots with him. When Blackbeard attacked a convoy of ships in front of Charleston Harbor in May 1718, looting and taking prisoners, the Carolina residents sought help from neighbouring Virginia. Spotswood was out to make a name for himself.


Although Spotswood did not have a specific mandate from King Charles which was necessary for the arrest and trial of pirates , Spotswood decided to intervene, wary that Carolina should deal with the problem, but spurred on by the prospect of obtaining Blackbeard's accumulated wealth, thought to include Henry Morgan's Panamanian gold; unaccounted for since 1671. 


Spotswood quickly had former Queen Anne's Revenge quartermaster William Howard arrested and questioned, though Howard had retired from piracy and lived in Virginia, suspecting that he was still in contact with Blackbeard. From Howard, later pardoned, he learned that Blackbeard was with a few men in one of his usual shelters, the Ocracoke Inlet.

Ocracoke was in North Carolina, out of his jurisdiction, but Spotswood was now determined to capture the pirate as quickly as possible, dead or alive, even by violating the sovereignty of another colony. So alluring was the expectation of riches, he was willing to brave further admonitions from on high.


Blackbeard was known to have studied Henry Morgan's exploits and tactics, and reasoned, like many others, including Alexander Spotswood, that the whereabouts and recovery was just a matter of time. Unfortunately for the dark bearded pirate, Spotswood incorrectly calculated from much idle gossip speculating as to the source of Blackbeard's funding of wild parties and the like, that the pirate must have recovered the stash that King Charles II was deeply troubled over, threatening to hang Henry Morgan, who stood his ground, and bargained as to his usefulness, such that the English monarch, agreed to his demands, made as they were from the gibbet. So to speak.


Thus us was that without waiting for the authorization of the House of Burgesses, he sent two warships against Blackbeard under the command of Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard. On November 22, 1718, after five days of search, the pirates were taken by surprise, at what is now known as the Battle of Ocracoke, Maynard, aboard HMS Pearl, attacked Blackbeard's ship, who was killed in a short and bloody fight. Nine of his men died with him, and Maynard lost a dozen of his men. It is fair to say that Blackbeard was tortured with 20 cuts and five shot wounds, in an effort to get the pirate to reveal the location of the Panamanian gold.


Blackbeard knew he'd probably find the additional clues with Henry Morgan's corpse. But took this secret with him to the grave, even though in great pain, realising that Spotswood and Maynard had set trap him. Cursing Lieutenant Robert Maynard and his descendants, for his torture and murder - and taking what he knew with him to Davy Jones locker.


On the death of their captive, Maynard and his crew ransacked the Adventure, finding very little in the way of contraband and no gold or jewels, save only for the parchment and other papers, that appeared to be of little value. Nevertheless, as that was all to be had. The papers were had, to accompany Lt. Maynard to London, not to be disclosed to the Admiralty or Spotswood, but rather to become cherished items, held to be of value one day. For that reason, they were guardedly passed down the generations.


Two days later, Maynard returned to Jamestown with fifteen prisoners, who were later hanged, and Blackbeard's severed head was stuck on the tip of the bowsprit, to tell Spotswood that despite his best efforts to illicit the whereabouts of the Spanish treasure, there was no clue or sign of the hoard, aboard the Adventure.


After this, the Lieutenant faded into obscurity. Over three hundred years later, his descendent, Commander JT Maynard, would once again pick up the gaultlet.





Only gold, silver and gemstones were worth anything to captains of old. The currency was easy to trade and did not corrode, so ideal to be secreted in the most inhospitable environments.












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The rights of Jameson Hunter and Cleaner Ocean Foundation to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with section 77 and 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This website and the associated Treasure Island artwork is Copyright 2023 Cleaner Ocean Foundation and Jameson Hunter. This is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the authors' imaginations, and any resemblance to any person, living or departed, is entirely coincidental.