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Stede Bonnet – gentleman among pirates

Stede Bonnet - gentleman among pirates

Stede Bonnet – gentleman among pirates


He was an attractive and educated young man, 25-year-old gentleman, who arrived in Barbados from England, and served as a major colonial militia.
By the age of 28 Stede had his own home in Bridgetown, prosperous plantation and a young wife – Mary.
People thought he would have a bright future in politics, but fate decreed otherwise. After a quarrel with his wife Bonnet became a pirate. He bought a large sloop and called it Revenge.
Not far from Nassau Bonnet met Edward Teach – famous pirate Blackbeard. He became either a prisoner of the terrible Edward Teach or his powerless companion. So Blackbeard became a captain of the Revenge and Bonnet walked on the deck and read his books and gain experience. A few months later, on behalf of Teach, Bonnet went to Virginia to ask for the royal pardon for them. A gentleman with a good education was just perfect for this mission. Bonnet met with Governor Charles Eden and received amnesty. With this document, he returned to Teach and… there was an unpleasant surprise. Blackbeard took all guns and gears, and went to Ocracoke Island. Bonnet’s ship was simply left on a desert island with 17 team members.

Bonnet was furious and decided to take revenge. Like a madman he chased Blackbeard for two months, but he never caught him.
Stede Bonnet - gentleman among pirates

Stede Bonnet – gentleman among pirates


Near Charlestown Bonnet and his team attacked a merchant ship with rum. It was very silly act. Stede changed his name to Thomas Bonnet and headed south. Then he was told that the bottom of the ship was overgrown with weeds and they had to remove them. The pirates camped in the river mouth of the Cape Fear a few miles from Charlestown. A week later, Colonel William Rhett came there. Bonnet wanted to escape but his ship ran aground. The pirate had to take the fight and he lost.

Stede Bonnet – gentleman among pirates

Bonnet had all the chances to be justified in court. He knew the laws, was a gentleman, and had the necessary money and connections. Governor Eden took the prisoner with exceptional respect. Bonnet didn’t spent his time in prison but in the house of the commandant of Charlestown.
But Bonnet was full of surprises and paradoxes.
On October 24, 1718 Bonnet fled the city in the company of David Heriot. One of the patrols found them sleeping in the stolen canoe. Bonnet’s fate was decided. On December 10, 1718 Stede Bonnet was hanged in White Point.
Why did he become a pirate? Why did he escape from the court, which could pardon him?
There are more questions than the answers in this story.
Bonnet’s first fairly complete biography is in the book The Universal History of Piracy by Daniel Defoe (published under the pseudonym Charles Johnson).

Execution of Stede Bonnet

Execution of Stede Bonnet


Pirate Flag of Stede Bonnet

Pirate Flag of Stede Bonnet