Copyright 2001, David Stapleton
Edward England's career as a pirate began when the sloop that he was a mate on was taken by a pirate Captain Winter during a trip from Jamaica to Providence. It seems that England was looked upon with such favor by the pirates that he was soon given command of a sloop of his own sailing out of New Providence until it was settled by the English and the pirates there surrendered to the amnesty offered by Woodes Rogers in the name of the Crown.
He then sailed for the coast of Africa, where they took the snow Cadogan, and after torturing the captain, Skinner, for past misdeeds to some of the crew that remembered him from an earlier time, gave the ship to Howel Davis. Next England took a ship called the Pearl and exchanged it for his sloop, renaming it the Royal James.
In 1719 the pirates returned to Africa and between the River Gambia and Cape Coast took ten ships; three of which they released after plundering, four they burned, and two others, the Mercury and the Elizabeth and Katherine, they refitted as pirates naming them the Queen Anne's Revenge and Flying King respectively. A Captain Lane was given command of the Queen Anne's Revenge and a Captain Robert Sample was given command of the Flying King. These two ships then left Edward England and sailed to the Caribbean. After which England took two more ships, the galley Peterborough and the Victory, releasing the latter and keeping the former.
Coming close to Cape Coast Castle they saw two ships at anchor, but before the pirates could reach them they let go their anchors and sailed up close under the guns of the castle, the ships being the Whydah and John. After being put off by gun fire from the castle the pirates sailed down to Whydah Road, only to find that another pirate, Captain la Bouche had already taken any plunder of value.
England and crew then sailed to another harbor and careened their ships, and renamed the Peterborough as the Victory. The pirates spent the better part of a month partying, killing several of the natives and setting fire to one of the native villages. Finally putting out to sea again they set course for the East Indies, arriving enroute in Madagascar in the beginning of 1720, heading thence for the Malabar coast. Here they took several Indian vessels and a Dutch ship which they exchanged for one of their own.
The next stop was Juanna where they ran across two English and an Ostend Indiaman. The captain of one of the English ships, the Cassandra, put up a fierce battle. So damaging the pirates Dutch ship, now called the Fancy, that the pirates kept the Cassandra and gave the Fancy, in its ill shape, to the English captain. The other English ship, the Greenwich, and the Ostender deserted the Cassandra and ran off. Edward England, having released the captain of the Cassandra, made several enemies among his crew and was marooned with three others on the small island of Mauritius, and sailed off under a Captain John Taylor.
England and the men made a small boat of scrap wood and sailed it to Madagascar, St. Augustine Bay. Here England survived for a short while off the charity of others before finally dieing in late 1720 or early 1721. As an aside one of the men marooned with England was described by Captain Johnson as "a man with a terrible pair of whiskers and a wooden leg, being stuck round with pistols," and is said to have been the model for Robert Louis Stevenson's character, Long John Silver.
Like most pirates, England's end was neither in fame nor riches. England was said to have been one of the more humane of the pirate captains and only allowed the crew to torture victims when he could not persuade them otherwise.
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