PIRACYSHARPE, BARTHOLOMEW. 1650-1702. [AND: WILLIAM HACK, editor. c.1655-1708].
'To the Serene Mai.ties of Charles; the second. King of great Britaigne, France and Ireland. This following Journall of our transactions in the South Seas is humbly presented by your Ma:ties ever loyall Subiect B:Sharpe' [London: c.1682]. Manuscript journal of Bartholomew Sharpe from April 5, 1680 to January 28th 1681/2, ink on paper, Dedicatory title set in a floral wreath, attributed to the hand of William Hack; 52 leaves written on rectos only (including 2 blank leaves), last leaf pasted onto original stiff grey wrapper. Small Folio (310 x 195 mm). Near contemporary mottled calf, marbled endpapers, spine lettered "Sharpe south sea 1680" g.e., later red morocco backed slipcase. Outer margins occasionally cropped affecting some marginal letters, covers affected by the action of mottling acid, hinges repaired.
An important surviving journal use to gain a pardon from Charles II for the buccaneer Bartholomew Sharpe. This unpublished manuscript is a fair transcript possibly in Sharpe's own hand, listed as J8 in Ringrose, Howse and Alexander, "A Buccaneer's Atlas," in Basil Ringrose's South Sea Waggoner (1992) p 262. It forms a "clean" and shortened version of the famous Journal kept by the English Buccaneer "Captain" Bartholomew Sharpe on his 3 year foray along the coasts of Central and South America, carefully omitting all mention of piracy, ransom and plunders against the Spanish (which would be a treasonable offence as Britain was not at war with Spain). It appears to have been drawn up by Sharpe with Hack's assistance and would have served as a companion volume to a waggoner (atlas of sea charts with sailing directions) and appendix produced by William Hack (copying a 1669 Spanish Derrotero, captured by Sharpe from the Spanish galleon El Santo Rosario in July 1681), which were presented to Charles II in October 1682 in support of his request for a pardon (see British Library K.Mar.VIII.15, bearing a similar dedication in a same hand).
As a young pirate in 1671, Sharpe was part of Captain Morgan's famous raiding party on Panama, and in 1680 joined the pirate army under Captain Harris out of Port Royal, Jamaica. The 331 buccaneers crossed the isthmus and captured the ship the Trinity, then started plundering the Spanish galleons of the Pacific. After various deaths onboard Sharpe found himself in command of the Trinity and in July 1681 captured the Rosario. Amongst the silver and gold was an up to date Derrotero detailing the Spanish possessions along the Pacific Americas. On his return to London in March 1682, Sharpe and several other pirates onboard the Trinity were arrested for piracy and murder. During the trial Sharpe presented the Spanish chart book to Charles II and earned himself a pardon. He was offered a captaincy in the navy but declined, returning to the Caribbean to his former profession. In 1696 he took residence on the Danish island of St Thomas, got into debt and was imprisoned in 1700, dying in captivity in 1702. William Hack, a young chart-maker in London (apprenticed to Andrew Welch 1671-1680) was commissioned by Charles II to assist Sharpe in drawing up new versions of the Spanish charts. This commission and all the subsequent variations produced for members of the court and the Admiralty were the basis of William Hack's successful career as a chart-maker. As many as 14 copies of the Pacific waggoner have survived (4 fragmentary). In America there are copies dated 1683 in both the Huntington and the Philadelphia Free Library, and a 1690 copy in the Carter Brown Library. Hack also decorated and had copied the full Journal, which were circulated after the trial. One to Pepys was acquired in 1685, another now on display in the Morgan Library is dated c.1695. Hack created and continued an enthusiasm and interest in the tales of Sharpe's adventures well into the 18th century, and Hack's copies of the captured Spanish charts assisted British ships in breaking the Spanish monopoly of the Pacific trade.
Provenance: Thomas Anson, M.P. and traveler. (18th century armorial bookplate); Arthur A. Houghton; his sale Christies New York, 13 June 1979, lot 245 $8000, sold to H.P. Kraus; purchased from Kraus by Bruce E. McKinney.