Bartholomew Roberts and Edward England: first-hand accounts of the models for Captain Jack Sparrow

[Pirates of the Caribbean]. The Historical Register, Containing an Impartial Relation of all Transactions, Foreign and Domestick. With a Chronological Diary of all the Remarkable Occurrences [...] That Happen'd in This Year. Volume VI. For the Year 1721.

London, H. M. for T. Norris, R. Gosling and H. Meere, [1722].

8vo. (2), 348, (6), 44 pp. Contemporary full mottled calf with gilt spine (hinges weakened, binding professionally restored and lacquered). All edges sprinkled red.


Rare news journal containing the lengthiest entry on pirates known in any contemporary periodical, spanning eleven closely printed pages (pp. 246-256) that went on to be cited in numerous piracy studies. The relevant section begins with a report from Jamaica that the pirates have been so active that they now number about 1500. There is a letter from Andrew Kingston detailing the loss of his ship to John Roberts (also known as Bartholomew Roberts, and later "Black Bart") about four miles from Antigua, followed by proclamations and speeches of Nicholas Lawes, Governor of Jamaica, and an attempt by him to collect recompense from the alcaldes of Trinidad in Cuba ("I find the Port of Trinidado a Receptacle to Villains of all Nations"). The English governor also demanded that the two pirates Nicholas Brown and Christopher Winter be handed over, which was refused - on the grounds that they had been baptized in the Catholic faith. Pages 253-256 contain an account by Captain Mackra who lost his ship Cassandra to pirates in the East Indies "between the coasts of Arabia and Malabar", and the unfortunate seaman's negotiations with the pirates' "chief Captain", the notorious Edward England.

The "Historical Register" was a quarterly news periodical originally issued to the clients of London's Sun Fire insurance. First printed in 1716, it ceased publication with no. 92 in 1738. This is the complete 1721 volume, comprising numbers 21 through 24 of the Register as well as the Chronological Diary for 1721. Complete year-volumes are rare: Bonhams NY (11 April 2016, lot 30) estimated a disbound copy of issue no. 23 only at $2500-$3500.


ESTC T154297. OCLC 642461330.