Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Lowther, George

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

LOWTHER, George, English buccaneer, b. in England; d. on Blanco island, off the coast of Venezuela, in 1722. He was an officer on one of the ships belonging to the Royal company of Africa, and in 1721, while stationed at the mouth of the Gambia, seized the vessel with the aid of Capt. Massey, an officer of infantry. Lowther harangued his followers, showing them that it would be madness to return to England, and that it was better to seek their fortunes on the high seas than expose themselves to certain death. The crew applauded, and a covenant was signed by them with their leader and sworn to on the Bible. They sailed for the Antilles, where they made several captures. A quarrel then took place between Lowther and Massey, who wished to attack the French colonies, and the latter was allowed to take charge of a captured sloop, with ten men. He sailed for Jamaica, where the governor treated him kindly and gave him money to go to London. He confessed his misdeeds to the African company, and was tried and executed in July, 1723. Meanwhile Lowther seized many ships, but afterward, when he had put into Porto Mayo to rest and refit, was attacked by the inhabitants, and forced to retreat with loss. After this Lowther was for some time very successful, but afterward he attacked a vessel that beat him off and pursued him, and he was forced to run his vessel aground in order to escape by land with his crew. He lost so many men in this action that he was obliged to retire to a small island, where he passed the winter of 1722. On the return of spring he sailed for Newfoundland. The pirates stopped on the way at Blanco island, off the coast of Venezuela, where Capt. Walter Moore, who commanded a vessel belonging to the South sea company, attacked them and took many prisoners, but Lowther and some others escaped to land. Moore sailed to Cumana, and afterward to St. Kitt's, with his prissoners, most of whom were hanged. The Spanish governor of Cumana sent a detachment of soldiers to Blanco island, where Lowther was discovered dead, having probably committed suicide.