Quelch's Gold: Piracy, Greed, and Betrayal in Colonial New England
In May 1704, an 80-ton brigantine under Captain John Quelch slipped into the cove at Marblehead, Mass. carrying Brazilian sugar, hides, cloth, guns, and gold dust and coins worth over 10,000 sterling--a huge fortune for the time. It was this booty and the circumstances of the voyage of the Charles, that led to Quelch's arrest on charges of piracy and murder against the subjects of Queen Anne's newest ally, the King of Portugal. Quelch's trial, called by one historian "the first case of judicial murder in America," greatly influenced pirates who followed, making them far more violent and destructive. One can also see in the Quelch case the first stirrings of American rebellion against English rule. Whether pirate or privateer, Quelch suffered a travesty of justice, even by the legal standards of the time. His is a dramatic and tragic story about a man caught up in a world he no longer understands.
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aboard the Charles accused Admiralty Atlantic attack Bastian Blackbeard Board of Trade Boston News-Letter Brazil brigantine Byfield Capt Captain Kidd Captain Plowman Captain Quelch captured cargo coast coins Colman and Clarke colony command commission condemned Cotton Mather Council court crew members cruise deck diary Dudley's eighteenth century England English fate French Galley gold dust Governor Dudley guns Historical Society Hobby Isles of Shoals jail John Colman John Lambert John Quelch Joseph Dudley Kidd knew Larrimore later Lieutenant London Marblehead mariners Massachusetts Mather Meinzies merchant militia navy Newport North official owners Paul Dudley Pimer piracy pirates port Portuguese prisoners privateer prize prosecution province Puritan Queen Quelch's crew Quelch's gold records Rhode Island royal sail sailors Salem Samuel Sewall Scudamore Sewall's shallop share ship ship's slaves Spanish taken taverns tion Town House transcript treasure trial turned vessel voyage William witnesses York