[ 2007-04-13 18:23 ]
Commodore, I beg you, please do this for me. As a wedding gift.
July 1718 to November 1720. English. Ships: William. Bonney is one of the few
women pirates in European history. With Mary Reade she was captured in 1720, as
John Rackham raided along Jamaica's northern coast. Early in November, a
government ship seized Rackham's sloop which carried the two women and 9 men.
Rackham and the other men were hanged. Because everyone knew they were women,
Bonney and Read were tried separately. Their victims testified that they wore
female clothing except during battles. Both joined in assaults carrying guns.
The witnesses added that "they were both very profligate, cursing and swearing
much, and very ready and willing to do anything."
Contemporay picture of Anne
After they were convicted, the judge asked if there was any reason they
should not be hanged as sentenced. "My Lord, we Plead our Bellies," Bonney and
Read replied - the customary plea of pregnant women. Since hanging would also
kill the unborn child (who had committed no crime), women were reprieved until
they gave birth. Bonney and Reade were jailed, and nothing is known about their
The presence of two women on Rackham's sloop was highly unusual. Some
articles specifically banned women and young boys, since the men fought to
obtain their sexual favors. In this case it seems the pirates tolerated the
women because they may have made themselves available to anyone in Rackham's
small crew. Daniel Defoe made Bonney famous through a melodramatic story
inserted in his General History. According to Defoe, Anne successfully disguised
herself as a man while fighting beside her lover, John Rackham. Defoe tells how
Anne was born in Ireland, the illegitimate child of a lawyer and his servant.
Her father was forced to immigrate to South Carolina, along with Anne and her
mother. The only heiress to a large fortune, Anne gave it all up to run away
with James Bonney.
The two lovers went to the Bahamas, where Bonney was pardoned by Woodes
Rogers in 1718. Anne, who liked both money and men, soon began to sleep around.
She eventually met John Rackham, who won her favor by lavishly spending booty.
When Governor Rogers threatened to whip Anne and Rackham, they stole a sloop and
turned pirate together.
Putting on seaman's clothes, Anne fought beside the other pirates, who were
convinced she was a man. She took shore leave in Cuba to have a baby, but
rejoined the ship soon after. By this time, Mary Reade, also wearing male
attire, had joined the crew. Mary learned Anne's secret when Anne seduced her,
thinking her a pretty fellow. When the Jamaicans caught the pirate ship, only
the women resisted, and Anne viciously condemned Rackham as a coward. Victims
testified that she retained her feminine character, and donned men's clothing
only when in action, but otherwise dressed as women.
She ran up some curtains.
The hotel bill might run up to￡500.
She started digging the garden with a will.