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Charles Vane


When Woodes Rogers was sent to break up the pirate stronghold in the Bahama Islands, all the Pirates in New Providence surrender to Rogers and received a King's Pardon. All, that is, except Charles Vane. Vane instead set fire to a newly acquired prize and slipped out of the harbor as Rogers entered.

Captain Charles Vane

Vane then proceeded to extend his piratical deeds throughout the Caribbean and along the coast of the American Colonies. When his deeds made him too popular in the Carolinas he would turn his attention to the Caribbean, and when the Caribbean heated up, he would simply head north.

He was extremely popular with his crew. Not only did he have an uncanny ability to find rich treasures but he was also charismatic and a natural leader. Vane also had the respect of his fellow pirate Captains. On one account he met up with Black Beard and after exchanging salutes the two captains were said to have dropped anchor and proceeded to "take part in a glorious debauch for several days".

Being popular with his crew and having and uncanny ability to find riches should have been enough to allow Vane to do just about as he pleased as Captain but it wasn't. At the height of his career, Vane made a critical error in judgment. Vane and his crew happened upon a French Man-O-War and Vane being the prudent man that he was, elected not to attack the well armed ship, figuring its plunder was not worth the risk. His crew was outraged by this act of cowardice and his position as captain was put to vote. Vane lost the vote and with his supporters was put in a small sloop and cast adrift.

Vane however was not discouraged by the turn of events and quickly recruited another crew. He quickly re-established his ruthless reputation and once again became a scourge of the sea. Unfortunately his luck would not hold up. As soon as he once again regained his strength and went back on the account his ship was sunk by a sudden water spout. Vane and a few members of his crew managed to make it to a nearby island where he lived marooned for several months.

After some time, a former friend of Vane's by the name of Captain Holford, put into the island to take on fresh water. Vane begged Holford to rescue him, and despite being old friends, Holford remarked "I shant trust you aboard my ship unless it is as a prisoner, for I shall have you caballing with my crew, knock me on the head, and run away with my ship a pirating".

No promises of good behavior on Vane's part would prevail and Holford further went on to say that if he were to meet up with Vane again, he would have in irons and take him to Port Royal to be hanged.

Shortly after this, another ship would arrive , and this Captain knew nothing of Vane or his notorious past and the Captain was persuaded to take him off the island.. Vane worked hard on the new ship and was well respected by the captain and crew as a hard working, experienced sailor.

Unfortunately for Vane, Captain Holford happened to be an acquaintance of this Captain and upon a chance meeting at sea, came onboard to dine with the Captain. Holford happened to glance down an open hold and saw Vane busily at work. He immediately told the Captain whom his new hand was and Vane was immediately clapped in irons. The Captain turned Vane over to Holford, who in turn took Vane back to Port Royal to hang.

And thus were the loyalties among the brothers of "Old Roger".

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The only author and editor of all pages on the site. Most of what I write about is based on years of book reading on the topic. My first web page was published back in 1994.

Updated: 04 September 2022