An interesting story of one of the last traditional sailing ship pirates. The story of Benito De Soto was not the end of piracy but he was one of the last traditional pirates, captured by the British, tried and executed. – Highly Recommended
NAME: Hunting the Last Great Pirate FILE: R3293 AUTHOR: Michael E A Ford PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Ceylon, British Empire, Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, Azores, pirates, privateers, sailing ships, 'Morning Star', 'Topa', armed convoys, Benito De Soto, Gibraltar, Execution Dock ISBN: 1-52676-930-1 PAGES: 234, 8 page b&w photo plate section IMAGE: B3293.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y63bzv7o LINKS: DESCRIPTION: An interesting story of one of the last traditional sailing ship pirates. The story of Benito De Soto was not the end of piracy but he was one of the last traditional pirates, captured by the British, tried and executed. – Highly Recommended
The two ships taken by De Soto before his capture demonstrate the risks merchant crews still took to bring cargoes along the great sea routes of the British Empire. The unarmed Quaker ship ‘Morning Star’ was part of an armed convoy with East India Company ships but was unable to keep up with the convoy. Alone and unarmed, she made an easy target for De Soto, who took the ship, the cargo, and killed the master and crew. The ‘Topaz’ was an American merchantman that was engaged on an illicit cargo of saltpetre loaded in India. She sailed alone intending to avoid inspection by the East India Company and her burning hulk was discovered off the Azores.
The author provides a lively account of De Soto and the two merchant ships, followed by the capture, trial and execution of the pirate in Gibraltar. At the time there were those who felt the case against De Soto had not been adequately brought but, later, British justice was exonerated. De Soto had landed the spoils of his piracy and buried them in his home in Spain. The cargo concealed, he travelled to Gibraltar to find a buyer and was captured. In 1926 when his former home was being renovated, much of the cargo from the ‘Morning Star’ was discovered where he had buried it.