Arthur G. Wavell to Stephen F. Austin, 09-10-1822

Summary: Experience with pirates in the Gulf.

On board french Brig L Azema at Sea 10th Septr 1822

Dear Judge

Fate has played me the most scurvy trick I ever yet suffered— on the third being close to the Island of Cuba we perceived a small Schooner standing toward us I proposed that we should prepare to fight if as we suspected she proved a Pirate this however all declared impossible indeed I found that we had only 4 small swivels 3 carbines 1 sabre and 1 Pistol she fired a gun and swept toward us it being nearly calm to attempt to escape was useless she hoisted Ud States Colors we ours (French) they boarded us armed with sabers and knives demanded all our cash saying if we find one dollar concealed we will burn the ship with you all in it which indeed we would do were you of any other nation if of the Ud States you would instantly be set on fire as soon as we had taken all we want. We gave up all our cash since they opened the hold boxes cabins lockers etc etc searched every where and took away as the Captn tells me Cochineal, cash including (1700 mine), sails, ropes, Indigo, all our stock arms, knives, Powder, Watches, Jewellery, etc etc to the amount of 60,000 Drs they ordered us to stand off all night and themselves stood in for the shore 2 days afterwards 5th being nearly in the same place since the Captain notwithstanding my remonstrances would not stand out to sea and the current together with our bad sailing prevented our getting to the Eastward they again boarded us, called us Puñateros etc for not quitting the coast menaced our lives particularly mine as an Englishman and Patriot Offr tying ropes round the necks of me and the Captn almost half hanged me as they swore they would and whilst in this situation stroke me with the flat and iron scabbards of their sabers asking where our money was concealed they then went carrying off all my cloathes and several other things belonging to the ship with the exception of one or two they are I believe all old Spaniards about 50 state they have a companion far larger and as we saw two falúas such scoundrels never before breathed nor was such a system of Piracy ever before carried on or could be except amongst such villians as Spaniards

Charleston S C: 20th Septr 22

We arrived here on the 17th in order to repair [our ship be]fore we proceed to Europe but I shall be [quit of] this dble [damnable] brig which sails not so fast as a dungbarge and has every other disadvantage and go to England on board the English ship London a noble bessel and very fine sailer wherefore I shall hope to reach Liverpool about the 1st of Novr Let me know constantly how you get on and believe me ever yours

A. Wavell.

by the bye read if you can the Charleston Gazette of the 18th or 19th of this month which gives a full detail of what has happened to us —

[Addressed:] Sor Dn Estevan F. Austin en la Ciudad de Mexico