Seventeenth Century pirate Captain Henry Morgan is a fascination for many history buffs. That is likely to increase with the discovery of the Satisfaction, his flagship with tantalizing unopened crates. The maker of Captain Morgan rum, which helped finance the search, is hoping that the crate contain some bottles of rum. The discovery occurred just short of the anniversary of Morgan’s death.
Morgan is an intriguing figure. As a privateer, he acted under letters of Sir Thomas Modyford, the governor of Jamaica, who continued to issue such letters despite the peace treaty with Spain. Morgan was a brilliant commander and sacked both ships and cities. After he sacked Panama, however, he was arrested and taken to England in 1672. Yet, he claimed no knowledge of the peace treaty and was not only released but actually knighted in 1674. He also was the plaintiff in a libel suit against Alexandre Exquemelin, who once had been his friend and published The History of the Buccaneers of America. It was a less than flattering account of Morgan and his reputation for drinking and debauchery.
He won the libel action against the book’s publishers William Crooke and Thomas Malthus and received damages of two hundred English pounds. Morgan ultimately died of “dropsie” on August 25, 1688. It is rumored that he had caught tuberculosis in London and also had a failing liver from his heavy drinking (be warned Captain Morgan fans).
If this is the Satisfaction, it is hard to believe much survived. In Morgan’s return after a raid to Magdalena, he faced a strong Spanish force of three ships. He decided to make his own flagship a fire ship to destroy the Spanish Flagship, the Magdalen. He had the men hollow out logs and fill them with explosives — then dressed to look like pirates. It worked and the Magdalen was destroyed. Presumably, they should find the Magdalen not far from the Satisfaction.
Presumably, this is the song playing as the Satisfaction went down:
When I’m ridin’ round the world
And I’m doin’ this and I’m signing that
And I’m tryin’ to make some girl
Who tells me baby better come back later next week
‘Cause you see I’m on losing streak
I can’t get no, oh no no no
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
I can’t get no satisfaction
No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction