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PIRATES: A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY  Transcript of an address on June 20, 2009 to the Oak Island Tourism Society  - Graham Harris©   In this day and age when one embarks on a voyage it is virtually certain one will arrive at the intended destination. When one embarks on a voyage with pirates, that destination may be anything other than anticipated. One of the most famous pirates in the annals of piracy is Captain William Kidd, whose name has often been associated with Oak Island. This is our port of embarkation. The first biographer of Kidd was Captain Charles Johnson, whose masterpiece A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates first appeared in 1724. But who was Johnson? Was he a pirate? What was his relationship to Captain Gulliver, the hero of that classic tale of fiction, Gulliver’s Travels, which appeared two years later? The port of arrival may prove a surprise! Introduction In the minds of the public the name of Captain Kidd is, perhaps, the best known of any of the pirates who flourished in what is known as the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’. There are at least two good reasons for this popularity. Firstly, there exists a fairly extensive archival record of his activities, or at least some of them, which have inspired countless books, films, and even plays, often embellished with fiction. Secondly, Kidd was hanged in May 1701 and, before he went to the gallows, asserted he had lodged ‘goods and treasure to the value of one hundred thousand pounds on an island in the Indies’. That treasure has never officially been recovered.      Captain William Kidd  (hanged 1701) Captain Kidd’s name has been linked to Oak Island ever since 1795 when legend tells us that signs of buried treasure were first discovered on the island. Who else’s treasure could it be but Captain Kidd’s, the pirate whose treasure had never been found! Though there is no archival evidence to support the contention that Kidd was ever anywhere near Oak Island, the supposition has lingered in the minds of both treasure seekers and the general public. This supposition was reinforced when Gilbert Hedden, who worked on the island in 1936-37 chanced upon a recently published book titled Captain Kidd and His Skeleton Island (1935) by Harold Wilkins. The book contained a map which fired Hedden’s enthusiasm, the more he studied it the more it seemed to resemble Oak Island.     (a) Map from endpapers                (b) Map from plate illustration        Two Maps of Captain Kidd’s ‘Skeleton Island’ ( note differences) from Wilkins    The Kidd-Palmer Charts Wilkins claimed the map reproduced in his book had been found by Hubert Palmer, a retired solicitor living in Eastbourne, England, who indulged himself collecting pirate relics, a perfectly innocent and lawful hobby, however eccentric it might appear. He amassed a large collection and became a recognized authority on piracy, his acquisition of books and relics being unrivalled. In 1929 he purchased an antique seventeenth century bureau, and discovered a secret compartment in which he found the first of what are now known as the Kidd-Palmer charts. The chart depicted the outline of an island and the initials W.K. Obviously, this was the island where Kidd had lodged his treasure but, sadly, there was no information as to its whereabouts! The finding of this first map spurred Palmer to seek other artifacts associated with Captain Kidd, and to search for hidden compartments in the hopes of finding more charts. In 1931 an old oak sea chest was purchased, and yielded up a piece of ancient parchment upon which was depicted an outline of the same island, but again no indication of where the island might be situated. In 1932 another sea chest was purchased which, reputedly, had belonged to Kidd while in Newgate Prison. The chest had ornamental brass hinges, a plate engraved with the letter ‘K’ and a skull and crossbones. Inside was a plaster cast of a skull fixed to a bible which was believed to have been used for swearing in pirate crews. The chest eventually yielded up parchment depicting the same island but with considerable more detail. On the map were shown hills, a lagoon, reefs, four odd looking dots and a spot marked ‘X’ In 1934 a small workbox reputed to have belonged to Kidd’s wife was obtained. A diligent search produced a chart on yellow parchment, and as soon as Palmer saw the chart he realized  his search was over. This chart had the most important clues to the location of the island, it had both latitude and longitude and various notes around the margins.   Palmer could hardly contain his excitement. It is said he had the charts examined by experts at the British Museum Library, who concluded the parchments were indeed seventeenth century and that the hand-writing could well have been Kidd’s. Nevertheless there is room for doubt.            Kidd-Palmer Chart 1 (1929)                Chart 2 (1931)            Kidd-Palmer Chart 3 (1932)             As may be seen, the map Wilkins chose to illustrate his book Captain Kidd and His Skeleton Island bears no similarity to any of the four charts discovered by Palmer. It is understood that apart from a few intimate friends Palmer never made a practice of showing his charts to anyone. It is said that at the time he showed them to Wilkins, when the latter was writing his book, he carefully masked the details that might enable the location of the island to be identified. Therefore, any connection between the island depicted on the Kidd-Palmer charts to the one reproduced by Wilkins must be considered extremely dubious and, by extension, the link to Oak Island equally doubtful. Nevertheless the myth persists. In an endeavour to scotch the myth of Captain Kidd’s connection to Oak Island I visited the Maps Reading Room of the British Library, as it is there that the work of verifying the Kidd- Palmer charts was reportedly carried out. This verification process is said to have included Xraying, photographing in infra-red light, and microscopic examination. The process would likely have included other forms of testing if the charts had not vanished as quickly, and as mysteriously, as they did in 1957. I was expecting a host of factual evidence available for study. On approaching the enquiry desk, and making my purpose known respecting the Kidd- Palmer charts, the attractive young lady behind the desk (named Nicola) smiled indulgently and said, “We get an awful lot of enquiries about these.” She extracted a plastic envelope from a ring binder ready to hand. The envelope was stuffed with various oddments with no order to the miscellaneous documents contained therein. There were photocopies of extracts from various pirate books relating to Kidd (nothing very original), an odd letter or two from enquirers, a copy of a British Library letter of recent date concluding the maps could not have been seventeenth century, but were more likely twentieth century forgeries, etc. There was little information of any value among this strange assortment. The overall impression gained from this visit, to one of the innermost sanctums of the prestigious British Library, was that the Kidd-Palmer charts were an embarrassment. The lack of order and security on the file’s contents suggested the sooner they were stolen by larcenous researchers, or hopeful treasure seekers, the better as far as the Library was concerned. The visit left a nagging doubt which was strengthened as further realizations dawned. The charts took on the aspect of a gigantic hoax, which at the time had its usefulness. That time now appeared to have passed. One of the more useful items in the file was a 1994 letter on British Library letterhead to an enquirer relating to the chart reproduced in Wilkins’s book, which had so much influenced Gilbert Hedden’s thinking. The following is an extract; At first glance [the chart] bears a general resemblance to the highly-finished maps and charts that William Hack (1655-1708) prepared for distinguished patrons. I enclose a xerox of an example in our possession ........... please note the variety of hands employed in [the chart]. A few are good attempts at imitating Hack’s hand, but these are undermined by needless over-egging of the pudding. Thus Hack would not have used a German ‘scharfes s’ (resembling a B) in ‘False Anchoring’ .............Similarly while there were no firm spelling rules in the seventeenth century, I would be surprised to find anyone spelling desert with a z or marsh with an additional c. ........the use of a gothic script for ‘Galleon Wrecks’ is absurd: no self-respecting English seventeenth-century chart maker would have used it.........while the flag with the skull and crossbones and the depiction of the galleon are ..... reminiscent of Robert Louis Stevenson, but not of seventeenth-century chartmakers.............. The initials WK and the date 1699 bear no resemblance to surviving examples of Kidd’s hand, though they were evidently intended to. The subject of Kidd’s treasure has proved a fascination over the centuries, and numerous theories have been expressed regarding the location of the island, and whether or not Kidd ever buried any treasure on it as he claimed. My own research, contained in Treasure and Intrigue: The Legacy of Captain Kidd (Dundurn, 2002), concludes Kidd was perfectly truthful in his claim o have buried treasure on an island in the Indies, but the island was among the Nicobar Islands, a noted pirate haunt in the seventeenth century. This part of the Indian Ocean was frequented by Robert ‘Cutlass’ Culliford and Dirk Chivers (who gave us the expression ‘Shiver me timbers!’). Kidd was known to both these pirates, and the evidence points to active collaboration between the three pirate captains, and their crews, in the taking of one of pirate history’s most renowned prizes, the Great Mahomet in September 1698 off the coast of India. The trail of detection also concludes Kidd’s treasure, buried on that remote island in the Indian Ocean, was recovered by the same lords who sentenced Kidd to death by hanging, for in 1705/6 they suddenly acquired stupendous sums of wealth. Two centuries later the British Museum Library was engaged upon a massive cataloguing process of previously unsorted manuscripts. This process was completed in 1922. It is reasonable to assume that much information came to light during this operation, some of which may have proved to be acutely embarrassing. After its recovery Kidd’s treasure ought to have been returned to its rightful owner the Mogul of India, but it wasn’t. It was pocketed by their lordships instead!. The knowledge that it was not returned when it ought could have led to serious political problems for the British Government, at a time when there was mounting opposition to British rule in India. The forging of the Kidd-Palmer charts can be dated to the 1920s, and though forgers cannot flaunt their talents by appending their signature, some are arrogant enough to leave their ‘mark’. The fourth, and latest, of the Kidd-Palmer charts of 1934 bears the initials ‘TA’ hidden amidst the hachures. ‘TA’ was a long-serving employee of the Maps Department of the British Museum Library. Whether the forging of the charts was a mere whim on his part, or by dictate of government, has yet to be determined. Some comment must be made upon the seamanship abilities of Captain Kidd. Accurate navigation towards the end of the seventeenth century posed great difficulties. Without knowledge of the arts of navigation, which depended upon proficiency in mathematics, a ship’s navigator could lose the ship, or put it on the rocks. The determination of a ship’s position as regards latitude was a relatively simple affair, and a number of devices were available which preceded the modern sextant. These, used in conjunction with tables of declination, could obtain a reasonably accurate ‘fix’. However, the determination of longitude presented greater problems. Ever since the Earth had been shown to be a sphere (albeit a rather flattened one) the concept of longitude had been appreciated. The difficulty lay in fixing longitude to a reference meridian. This problem remained unsolved until John Harrison invented the chronometer six decades later. However, when Kidd embarked on his voyage of piracy longitude was measured from the port of sailing, and was termed the ‘departure’, i.e. the cumulative distance travelled due west or due east converted into degrees. The mathematics of dead reckoning, as it was known, placed a heavy burden upon the navigator, especially when allowance had to be made while voyaging in higher latitudes. Kidd must have been an astute and proficient navigator. He took his ship the Adventure Galley into the Indian Ocean, and returned safely in his greatest prize, the Queddah Merchant, without apparent mishap. If his penmanship is a reflection of his scholastic abilities then it can be concluded he was one of the more well- educated pirates to sail the seven seas in the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’.      A Sample of  Kidd’s Handwriting and Signature After the taking of the Queddah Merchant Kidd claimed to have sailed to the pirate haven of  St. Marie, Madagascar, arriving April 1, 1698, the rest of his ships straggling in soon after. There he remained for five months, or so he claims in one of his testimonies, the greater part of his crew deserting him to go a-pirating with Robert Culliford in his ship, the Mocha. Culliford had tangled with an East Indiamen in the Strait of Malacca shortly before, and had come off worst. He needed more crew, and Kidd and his men were eager to oblige. The only vessel Kidd had left which was in a seaworthy condition was the Queddah Merchant itself, a lumbering ungainly merchantmen which would have been a liability in any seafight. It is inconceivable Kidd and his remaining men would have spent five months idling and frittering away their time, cavorting with native women, feuding with local chiefs and, what is more important remain in a place where he was vulnerable to attack by other pirates. Honesty among thieves is less common than popularly believed! Common sense says that he would have got out to sea fast, to lose himself in the vastness of the Indian Ocean. His collusion with Culliford, who met up with Chivers along the way, suggests a rendezvous in the Nicobar Islands, a favourite haunt of Culliford. This is where the evidence points to Kidd having buried his treasure before proceeding to Amboyna in the Dutch East Indies to rid himself of some of the bulkier loot taken on the Queddah Merchant - calico, silk, muslin and other stuffs, sugar, saltpetre and iron. Kidd’s visit to Amboyna is largely ignored by most biographers of Kidd. Most appear prepared to accept Kidd’s testimony that he waited at Madagascar for the winds to change so he could make a rapid transit to the Cape of Good Hope. The evidence for Kidd’s voyage to Amboyna is mentioned in two references. The first is in the transcripts of his trial in May 1701, the second is by his first biographer, Captain Charles Johnson, whose classic work A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates first appeared in 1724. Captain Charles Johnson  The General History was an immediate best-seller, and has been reedited and republished many times, for it is has become an indispensable reference for numerous plays, films, documentaries, and works of fiction on piratical themes. Strangely, the biography of Kidd was omitted from the first few editions of the General History of the Pyrates, for what reason we can only speculate. But who was Captain Charles Johnson? Who was the person who wrote this fantastically popular masterpiece almost 300 years ago? The identity of Captain Charles Johnson has attracted a great deal of scholarly debate. At one time the consensus of opinion was that he was Daniel Defoe, the author of that other famous classic The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. This unwarranted assumption has led to Johnson’s work being ascribed to Defoe to the extent it is generally listed under his name in catalogue listings. However, the literary argument for Defoe’s ascribed authorship has since been demolished. A careful reading of the General History of the Pyrates suggests a woman’s hand in some of the passages, particularly those relating to the two women pirates, Mary Read and Anne Bonny, hinting of the possibility of dual authorship. Even in the Introduction there is a similar indication, it being written in the first person, but with both the singular and plural forms of address used. The singular form is used where specific reference is made to nautical matters, and the plural form for generalities. The enigmatic author ‘Captain Charles Johnson’ may, therefore, be a cunning pseudonym masking the dual authorship of Captain Charles X and Ms. Y.Johnson. But who might these two have been? There is a clue in the second edition of the book which appeared in the latter part of 1724, for it contains an Editor’s note concerning some of the new information included in the book, which was provided by “Mr Atkins, a Surgeon”. A footnote makes a statement to the effect that Mr. Atkins was John Atkins (1685- 1757), naval surgeon to two naval ships, the Weymouth and Swallow, that cruised against the Guinea Coast pirates in 1721. On the premise that John Atkins may have been the son, nephew, or other close relation to Captain Charles X, I went in search of Captain Charles Atkins with surprising results. In my search I entered the India and Oriental Reading Room of the British Library in London and consulted one of their senior people. The conversation went something like this: Me: I’m looking for someone who may have worked for the East India Company. He: Best of luck! Thousands worked for them. (Not much sympathy there!) Me: The man I’m looking for may have been a surgeon. He: Oh, that’s different. (He went to a shelf, pulled down a book, Roll of the Indian Medical Service 1615-1930, and opened it) What was the name? Me: Captain Charles Atkins. He: Phew! He was a bad lot, wasn’t he? And there before my very eyes was a catalogue of the various misdoings of Captain Charles  Atkins while a surgeon in the employ of the East India Company. I’m still unsure as to why I said “The man I’m looking for may have been a surgeon.” Perhaps it’s because the profession of surgery often runs in families; perhaps I was grasping at straws. Nevertheless it was a lucky strike, for apart from being a surgeon Charles Atkins also held the rank of captain of militia. Subsequent discoveries also revealed he had once been a captain in the Royal Navy before losing his commission for smuggling gold. This led to recommencement of hostilities with the Moors in the Mediterranean. But that was a minor iniquity compared to numerous others that will be mentioned later. If Captain Charles Atkins was ‘Captain Charles X’, who was ‘Ms Y.Johnson’? The period Atkins’s spent in the East tallies exactly with the voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, the hero of that other classic tale Gulliver’s Travels, or to give it its full title Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver, first a Surgeon and then a Captain of Several Ships, which was  published anonymously. The first edition of this satirical masterpiece appeared in two volumes in October, 1726, two years after the appearance of the General History of the Pyrates. It has always been accepted by the literary world that authorship of Gulliver’s Travels rests with Jonathan Swift, it being assumed Lemuel Gulliver to have been a nom-de-plume. The evidence  for that conclusion is exceedingly flimsy, consisting of a first edition of the book which contains  editing changes and other notations in Swift’s own handwriting in preparation for a second printing. This merely suggests Swift to have played a role in the publication of Gulliver’s Travels. That role may have been a major one, but that is far different from sole authorship. It will be recalled that Jonathan Swift’s lifelong companion was Esther Johnson, or Stella as she is often known. We thus arrive at a very interesting ménage à trois - Captain Charles Atkins (aka Lemuel Gulliver), Stella Johnson and Jonathan Swift.      Was Lemuel Gulliver the natural father of both Jonathan Swift and Stella Johnson? The observant reader of Gulliver's Travels will note the text begins with biographical information relating to Gulliver, information which is totally irrelevant to the satirical thrust of the tale. It has been claimed this was introduced by Swift to impart a sense of reality to the story. This is absurd in a tale about pygmies, giants, and horses that talk! Reality is an ingredient noticeable by its very absence in Gulliver's Travels which more appropriately, perhaps, might have begun with the phrase “Once upon a time.” What this suggests is that the biographical information regarding Gulliver could be substantially correct, and valid reasons may have existed as to why he should have wished to mask, but not entirely obliterate, his true identity. Gulliver may have thought to tease or challenge the reader by presenting this information in the way he chose. Gulliver's Travels begins with the phrase “My father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the third of five sons”. Charles Atkins was indeed the third son of Sir Jonathan Atkins, who during his life was Governor of Guernsey (1664/5-1670) and Governor of Barbados (1674- 1680), and appears to have been born in Newark, Nottinghamshire, in 1646 during the Siege of  Newark. His uncle was Henry Howard, the Sixth Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal of England. He was indeed fortunate to have such an uncle, premier duke of England, for the Duke was well positioned to extricate his erring nephew from the countless misdoings that were to befall him. Charles Atkins joined the navy in February 1671/72 on resumption of Anglo-Dutch hostilities. He served on a number of naval vessels. In February 1675/76 he was appointed commander of the Quaker Ketch of 85 tons and 8 guns, and dispatched for a tour of duty in Tangier. What exactly happened off the coasts of North Africa is uncertain as no proper account can be found, but Atkins was carrying gold on board, presumably for his own profit, and permitted his vessel to be captured by corsairs without putting up a fight, and towed into port by the Algerines. This incident led to a resumption of hostilities between England and the Moors, hostilities which had been on and off the boil for several years. Atkins was dismissed in disgrace, together with his servants, on November 28, 1676. Any chance of a reputable career in the navy had vanished. For his craven behaviour his father cut him off without a penny. For the next few years he borrowed money without scruple wherever he could, and consorted with villains (of high and low rank). He also made the surprising decision to apprentice himself to a surgeon! The Murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey     On October 17, 1678 the body of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was discovered in a ditch at the foot of Primrose Hill, London, impaled by his own sword. Marks around the neck indicated Godfrey had been strangled as there was no blood on either body or sword. Furthermore, analysis of his stomach proved Godfrey had not eaten for two days prior to being murdered. Some distance from where the body was found were the tracks of a coach or cart, suggesting he had been killed elsewhere, his corpse dumped and his own sword driven into it. The murder of Sir Godfrey was unresolved by the judicial examinations that followed. The crime still remains one of Britain's greatest unsolved mysteries, one which has prompted a number of speculative books on the subject. Charles Atkins was involved in the murder of Sir Godfrey, of that there is no doubt. Whether he killed Sir Godfrey is uncertain, but if he didn't he was an active participant. Charles Atkins was examined before a board of enquiry investigating the death of Godfrey. One of the members of the board was an uncle, Sir Philip Howard, an unscrupulous politician, who made several unfounded claims on behalf of his nephew. Atkins was not examined either in public, or before the board itself, and was duly exonerated from any culpability - which is understandable in view of his high connections. Others were left to face the music! Others were hanged! Immediately after this brush with the law Charles Atkins was given a commission in a regiment raised by his brother-in-law, Sir John Fenwick. The regiment was disbanded soon after Charles joined as a lieutenant, so his army career lasted no more than about three months. Perhaps the object of this interlude was to remove him from London! During this period of his life young Charles Atkins behaved in a totally reprehensible manner, being described as “depraved” and “one who loved wine and women.” With intentions of ultimately becoming a surgeon it is hoped he attended to his studies more diligently than to his extra-curricular activities. Sir Jonathan Atkins returned home from Barbados in 1681 very angry with his son. There is a letter in the archives from Charles to one of his most influential uncles (and Charles had lots of those) stating his father had banished him from the country. What had Charles done to justify banishment? The affair of the Quaker Ketch, and his involvement in the murder of Sir Godfrey, were surely enough. But Charles was a young blade in his early twenties, busy sowing his wild oats. His rowdy cronies, and his penchant for women and wine, undoubtedly led him into a number of lustful liaisons. What if he put one girl too many into the ‘family way’, especially if she was a girl who shouldn't have been touched under any circumstances? Stella Johnson One of the mysteries which has baffled the literary world is the parentage of Stella Johnson, the girl beloved by Jonathan Swift. She was baptized Esther (or Hester) Johnson, but is more affectionately known as ‘Stella’, a name given her by Swift. The only certainty is that Johnson was not her proper name and that she was illegitimate, the name of Johnson being conveniently provided by Bridget Johnson, a servant in the household of Sir William Temple in which she was raised. The best portrait of Stella is given by Swift in a tribute after her death in 1728, titled On the Death of Esther Johnson. He writes: “She was born at Richmond, in Surrey, on the thirteenth day of March, in the year 1681 [O.S.]. Her father was a younger brother of a good family in Nottinghamshire, her mother of lower degree; and indeed she had little to boast of her birth. I knew her from six years old ...” Swift's statement of her fatherhood is meaningful for in the first line of Gulliver's Travels Gulliver claims his “father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire; I was the third of five sons”. The suspicion immediately arises that perhaps Gulliver was Stella's father. Stella Johnson was raised in the home of Sir William Temple. It was there where Swift first encountered her and her ‘constant companion’ Rebecca Dingley, after he was appointed secretary to Sir William Temple over the years 1689-99. Stella Johnson, Rebecca Dingley and Jonathan Swift were to become intimately associated in later life. Rebecca Dingley was fifteen years older than Stella, which prompts the question - what six year old child has a ‘constant companion’ with such an age difference, unless that ‘constant companion’ is their mother? If Rebecca Dingley was the mother, who was the father? Perhaps Charles Atkins? The Temple and Dingley families were related by marriage, the Dingley family being more numerous and less well off. The generosity of Sir William Temple in offering a home to the unfortunate Rebecca and her child is perfectly understandable, for this enabled her parents, the Reverend and Mrs. Charles Dingley, to escape the opprobium of disgrace. Gulliver's Travels  Gulliver's first voyage commences on May 4, 1699 on the Antelope. It is pertinent to note that all ships on which Gulliver sails during his Travels carry names of vessels belonging to the East India Company. Also, the sailing dates are unlikely to bear any relation to actual dates, as Gulliver notes in his “Letter to his Cousin Sympson” (a preface to the book) “I find....your printer hath been so careless as to confound the times, and mistake the dates of my several voyages and returns; neither assigning the true year, or the true month, or day of the month.” Perhaps this confusion is deliberate, if not by Gulliver then by Swift! Charles Atkins sailed in April 1700 for Gombroon (now Bandar Abbas) in the Persian Gulf, where he'd been appointed surgeon at the East India Company's factory. It wasn't long before Charles soon blotted his copy book there and was sent to Madras “to prevent any farther scandall and detriment to ye company's affairs.” An accompanying letter (April 10, 1703) describes his misdoings as follows:- “...he is become so intimate with ye shaubunder’s [dock labourer’s] secretary, one Anga Camall, that ... he bring him news of everything that passes which has cost us no small trouble since ye London and Monsoon came in.... ye fellow has been all along their observer and endeavouring to manage their business underhand.....he is become so notoriously scandalous by his unaccountable lewd and villainous practice in ye place that he is become ye talk of ye whole town and occasions no small disgrace .... he has always made his chamber in ye factory rendezvous of all ye scandalous fellows it has been possible to pick up and makes it his chief endeavour by all manner of means to debauch every one that comes sober into ye house to perswade people belonging to ships to run away and promote all manner of mischief and debauchery ....he is so intimate with ye moors keeping whores in their houses and constantly amongst them.” This letter, which accompanied Charles Atkins to Madras under armed guard on the London, ends “to prevent his doing more mischief than he has already we take ye opportunity of ridding ourselves of him.” A recommendation is made that he be “sent home to England and so rid ye country of so dangerous a person.” The council at Madras viewed the arrival of Charles Atkins, surgeon, with greater charity than those who had dispatched him from Gombroon, and found him a post at Fort St. David (Pondicherry). However, he didn’t last much longer there before getting into more hot water. A letter was received at Madras, dated February 1, 1704/05 which reads: “We having had complaints from the Deputy Governor and Council of Fort St David of the insolent and saucy behaviour there of their surgeon Charles Atkins, agreed that Mr Supplee who was the New [East India] Company's surgeon at Metchlepatam be entertained in his roome, and that he goes thither by the first opportunity.” Charles Atkins was dismissed again! The trail of Charles Atkins reappears in the records of the East India Company at Fort York (Bencoolen), Sumatra. The records tell us that he served as a lieutenant in the militia, being awarded the rank of captain of the garrison's forces in 1707 and carrying that rank until 1709. He was also the surgeon. He appears to have been as quarrelsome and irresponsible as before, leading to dismissal again in 1713 for assaulting a member of the council. Tensions could be high among the inmates of a factory, where as few as eight men were cooped up together for years on end. Excessive drinking was a curse and local women an adjunct to factory life. Fort York was located in a pestiferous swamp and in 1685 an outbreak of disease had decimated the tiny community, a report stating “All our servants are sick or dead ...we have no living to bury the dead.” Charles Atkins returned to England sometime in 1715. The Wedding of Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift and Stella Johnson, according to some sources, were married by the Bishop of Clogher in 1716, however there is some doubt as to whether they were man and wife, or if the marriage was consummated. The day after the supposed marriage Swift received a letter from England the substance of which is unknown, but its receipt caused great consternation. He disclosed its contents to the archbishop, who is reported to have remarked after an agitated Swift had left his study, “There goes the unhappiest man alive.” Swift shut himself up in his study for several days thereafter. In the Monthly Review of November 1751 this incident is described as follows: “It has been asserted Swift received a letter from England, the day after his marriage, the purport of which was, that the writer thereof hoped it would not come too late to prevent the consummation of a match which was rumoured intended betwixt Dr Swift and Mrs Johnson, for that they were both the natural children of one father; and gave the doctor sufficient reason to believe that the information was true.” The evidence thus far, though not conclusive, suggests Charles Atkins may have been that same natural father. Consanguinity would have presented a most serious obstacle to their marriage! The letter causing this havoc arrived soon after Charles Atkins returned from his travels in the Orient. Pirates  An observation worthy of mention concerning the authorship of the General History of the Pyrates is that all the pirates, whose lives are included in the first edition, reached the heights of their infamies between 1716 and 1723, the year prior to publication, with one notable exception. That exception is Henry Avery, whose exploits in the Indian Ocean were before 1700. There is thus a chronological gap in this biographical work between 1700 and 1716, which tallies with the periods spent by both Charles Atkins and/or Gulliver in their various travels. Was Atkins personally known to pirates? Was Atkins a pirate himself? It has been often speculated that the author of the General History was not unfamiliar with members of the pirate fraternity, and the same can certainly be said of Charles Atkins. Atkins's character is one of blatant disrespect to law, order, and morality - he was a pirate in all but name! A phrase Gulliver uses in his book “by which I got some addition to my fortune”, suggests he may well have made ‘a good voyage’ on a pirate ship. That ship is likely to have been Avery’s Fancy, for there are a number of observations made by Johnson regarding Avery’s life, the legendary prize he captured, the Gunsway, and life at the pirate haven on Madagascar, that give the impression the writer was an active participant in the events so vividly described. Furthermore, on returning to Ireland some of Avery’s pirate crew went to Cork, where the Atkins family happened to own large estates! Conclusion The voyage has now ended, no one has been seasick, and it is for you, the traveller, to muse on what you have witnessed. From our port of embarkation with Captain Kidd, we have visited the Kidd-Palmer charts, travelled to the Indian Ocean where we met Robert ‘Cutlass’ Culliford, Dirk ‘Shiver me timbers’ Chivers, Henry Avery, and that erstwhile rogue Captain Charles Atkins. The voyage has shed new light on the identity of that elusive author, Captain Charles  Johnson, and the equally elusive Lemuel Gulliver, the self-avowed surgeon and captain of several ships, a man whom you must agree appears to have been a most colourful rogue. When one embarks on a voyage of discovery researching the lives of pirates you can end up in some strange places with some even stranger bedfellows!