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Biographies of Famous Pirates

Captain Christopher Condent

Flag Attributed to Captain Condent


    Born at Plymouth in Devonshire. Condent was quartermaster on a New York sloop at the Island of New Providence, when Governor Woodes Rogers arrived there in 1718. The captain of the sloop seems to have thought it best to leave rather than wait to welcome the new Governor. When only a few days out, one of the crew, an Indian, who had been cruelly treated, attempted in revenge to blow up the ship. This was prevented by Condent, who with great courage leapt into the hold and shot the Indian, but not before the latter had fired at him and broken his arm. Turning their attention to piracy, the pirates took a prize, the "Duke of York". But with disputes arising within the crew, the captain and those loyal to him sailed away in the prize, while Condent was elected captain of the sloop. He then sailed across the Atlantic for the Cape Verde Islands. There he found a fleet of twenty small vessels, lying at anchor off the Island of Mayo, all of which he took. Sailing next to the Island of St. Jago, he took a Dutch ship. This proving to be a better ship than the sloop, Condent transferred himself and crew into her, and named her the "Flying Dragon", presenting the sloop to the mate of an English prize, who he had forced to go with him.

    From there Condent sailed away for the coast of Brazil, taking several Portuguese ships which, after plundering, he let go. After cleaning the Flying Dragon on Ferdinando Island, the pirates took several more prizes, and then one day met with a Portuguese man-of-war of seventy guns. Coming up alongside her, the Portuguese hailed the pirates, and they answered "from London bound for Buenos Ayres." The man-of-war, to pay a compliment to the ship of her English ally, manned the shrouds and cheered him. While this was taking place, Captain Condent suddenly attacked, firing a broadside and a volley of small arms into the man-of-war. A smart engagement followed, in which the pirates took most of the damage and were lucky to escape. Sailing away round the Cape of Good Hope, Condent arrived at the pirate stronghold on the Island of Johanna, where he took on board some of pirate Captain Halsey's crew. Now reinforced by these skilled masters in the craft of piracy, he took several rich East Indiamen off the Malabar coast. Calling in at the Isle of St. Mary, one of the Mascerenas group, he met with another Portuguese ship of seventy guns, which he was fortunate enough to make a prize of. In this ship they found amongst the passengers the Viceroy of Goa. Carrying this rich prize to Zanzibar, they plundered her of a large amount of money.

    Having now gathered a vast fortune, they thought it time to give up piracy, so they returned to the Island of St. Mary, where they took a share of their plunder, and the company broke up, many of them settling down amongst the natives. Captain Condent and some others sent from here a petition to the Governor of Mauritius asking for a pardon, and received answer that he would take them into his protection if they would destroy their ships. Having done this, they sailed to Mauritius, where they settled down, and Captain Condent married the Governor's sister-in-law. A few years later the captain and his wife left the island and sailed to France, settling at St. Malo, where Condent became a very successful trade merchant.




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