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Edward Coates was a colonial American privateer in English service during the King
William's War and a later a pirate operating in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean during the mid-1690s.
In 1689, Coates originally signed aboard the Jacob as a
sailor in a privateer expedition, then under the command of a
Mason, and commissioned by the colonial officials in New York to raid French shipping off the coast of
Quebec "to war as in his
wisdom should seem fit". However, unable to find French
vessels, Mason began raiding English shipping and distributing the
spoils among his crew, including Coates, eventually adding up to
1,800 pieces-of-eight per crewman.
Apparently withholding a portion of the crew's shares, Mason
disappeared after stopping at an uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean. Coates,
later suspected to have murdered Mason, assumed command of the
ship, stopping at St. Mary's Island
along with the 16-gun Nassau in October 1692 , before
returning to New York. Upon their arrival in April of the following
year, Coates arranged a deal with Governor Fletcher to pardon their
former acts of piracy, as well as assuring no interference from New
York authorities against further attacks, in exchange for $1,800
which would be divided between the Governor and other colonial
officials (as well as presenting Fletcher's wife with jewels, silks, and cashmere shawls ).
Sailing to the Red Sea in
1694, among Coates crew were quartermasters Samuel Burgess
Culliford, operating for several years before his eventual
capture and execution several years later.
- Carse, Robert. The Age of Piracy. 1965.
- Rogozinski, Jan. Pirates!: Brigands, Buccaneers, and
Privateers in Fact, Fiction, and Legend New York: Da Capo
Press, 1996. ISBN 0-306-80722-X
- Dow, George Francis and John Henry Edmonds. The Pirates of
the New England Coast, 1630-1730. Courier Dover Publications,
1996. ISBN 0-486-29064-6