Apr 27, 2017 - Sale 2444

Sale 2444 - Lot 368

Price Realized: $ 6,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
"HE HAS PROTECTED SEV'LL KNOWN PIRATS THAT HAVE PLUNDERED & DESTROYED" (PIRATES.) Pair of English reports on piracy complaints against Governor Adolph Esmit of Danish St. Thomas. 2 documents, each 2 manuscript pages on folding sheets, docketed on the integral blanks; minor soiling and wear. [London], 15 May and 22 November 1684

Additional Details

Adolph Esmit was in 1683 appointed governor of the Danish West Indies, which then consisted of St. Thomas and St. John. Under his rule, St. Thomas soon gained a reputation as a haven for pirates, which brought down the suspicion of British governor Thomas Stapleton in the nearby Leeward Isles. Esmit was an embarrassment to Denmark and was recalled within a year, but apparently there was some fear that he and his shady friends would not go quietly.
The first of these two documents, dated 15 May 1684, summarizes Stapleton's complaints against Esmit "for harbouring pirates and furnishing them out of the King of Denmark's stores there, with rigging & provisions for the carrying on their depredations." With a new Danish-appointed governor en route, Stapleton was thought well-situated to offer British support "in case any oposition should be made by ye sd Adolph Esmith against his successor." The current document, unsigned but apparently sent from a London government office, orders that a letter be dispatched to grant Stapleton this extraordinary authority.
The second is a heavily edited draft memorandum dated at the British Council Chamber on 22 November 1684: "Although it be at this time easie to prove how unjust the complaints of that Gov'r [of St. Thomas] are & how notoriously he has protected sev'll known pirats that have plundered & destroyed His Ma'y's subjects . . . Sir William Stapleton upon his arrival home aforementioned will be best able to justify his proceedings in ye matters complained of."