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SOUTH SEA PIRATE
In the Hands of the
I have lost all track of Hayes between September 27th,
1874, when he left Strong's Island in a fourteen-foot dinghy, and February 28th,
1875, when he turned up at Guam. According to Louis Becke's Adventure
article of 1914, Hayes reached Guam after a boat voyage of 1,600 to 1,800 miles,
during which he touched at many of the islands for water and provisions. The
Although she (the boat) was laden down to the gunwale
with both (provisions and water) when she left Strong's Island, light and
variable winds necessitated Hayes's calling at Pingelap, Ponape, and many other
spots before he reached San Juan d'Apra at Guam.
Hayes, however, did not reach Guam in the Leonora's
dinghy, no yet in King Togusa's dug-out rigged as a schooner, as stated by the
American consul at Guam, but in the whaler Arctic. It is not beyond the
bounds of possibility to suggest that Bully Hayes took an active part in the
whaling cruise, even to pulling an oar in the boats or harpooning a cachalot,
but it is very unlikely that he was aboard the whaler for five months as some
old hands have declar3ed. Probably the Arctic did not pick him up until
December, for it was unusual for whalers to refit at Honolulu in the late
autumn, so as to be able to work the Line grounds at the beginning of the year.
The Arctic was, it seems on her way to the Bonin or Japan grounds, having
finished her Line fishing, when she landed Bully Hayes at Guam.
In support of the Arctic story we have the
account published by the Diario-de-Manila of June 22nd, 1875, of which
the following is a translation:
Captain Hayes, an American citizen and master of the
barquentine Leonora, shipwrecked on one of the Caroline Islands, arrived
at this island (Guam), on the 28th February 1875, with Mr. Whitney, a whaling
master, on board the
American barque Arctic, for the purpose of purchasing a small schooner, which
(so he says) was formerly consigned to him. After buying the schooner Captain
Hayes, on April 8th, 1875, requested inspection and clearance, and after that
had been duly done heleft the roadstead at
about 9 a.m.
Although his little vessel was a good sailor, and there
was a fresh breeze blowing, it remained in front of this town all day long,
tacking along the shore. Two days later we learned that he had kidnapped, or
taken away, several natives. Captain Hayes anchored at Fasonan Cove, on the
northern peninsula, but as soon as our zealous Governor knew of it he ordered
the commanding officer, Don Jose Perez y Rivers, and twenty men on the case, and
they, after having posted themselves all night near the cove, captured the
captain when he came ashore to bathe, and took him prisoner. The captain was
brought to this capital, and placed in gaol (incommunicado). I understand that
the preliminary charges have been prepared. For that reason I suspend here my
narrative, as the matter is now in the hands of of the law, for, although it is
meet for the historians to narrate public acts, it is never permitted to them to
prejudge questions that under consideration in the courts.
Further light on this mysterious affair is shed by the
Sydney Morning Herald, which, in December 1875, has the following:
BULLY HAYES ARRESTED BY THE
AND TAKEN TO MANILA.
We have received further information respecting this
celebrated character from a trader who has just arrived in Sydney by the
German schooner Coeran, which arrived on November 22nd, 1875 from the
South Sea Islands. This person informs us that he was at Guam towards the
latter end of April last and Captain Hayes was there with the fore-and-aft
schooner Arabia, 50 tons.
There are a number of Spanish prisoners at Guam, and
Captain Hayes made a bargain with several of these convicts to take them away
in the Arabia in consideration of 24 dollars apiece. They gave him the money
(or money's worth) and went on board the vessel, but the Spanish authorities,
having obtained some inkling of the affair, arrested Captain Hayes on the
beach, and placed him in safe custody. The men in the schooner, seeing what
had occurred, and observing that the soldiers were about to get into a boat
for the purpose of boarding the schooner, cut the cable and made sail, and
were soon beyond pursuit.
In nine days the Arabia arrived in Pelew Islands, and
the convicts went across the island to a village called Artocolange, where
they were seen on or about May 5th or 6th, 1875 by our informant and the crew
of the Coeran. About this time Captain Holecomb, of the American
schooner Scotland, arrived at the Pelew Islands, and as there was no one on
board the Arabia able to navigate her, took possession of her as an abandoned
vessel. Some of the escaped convicts are said to have arrived in Sydney.
The late Captain Joshua Slocum, the famous
single-hander, is our next authority for this strange turn in Hayes's
One day in Manila, writes Slocum, I received a note
from the U.S. consul (Mr. Griswold Herron) saying that a countryman of ours,
one Captain Hayes, had been brought as a prisoner from Guam on a charge laid
by the Spanish officials of stealing political prisoners. I called upon Mr.
Herron, who said, 'Hayes insists that he knows you. What do you know about
Of my own knowledge I could tell him nothing very
damaging. My information had been picked u piecemeal. I smiled to myself as I
remembered our first meeting, which was all in Hayes's favour. I recalled him
as a 'convert,' asking grace at my table, receiving messages from esteemed
missionaries who called him 'Dear Brother.' The outline of this latest
escapade as sketched by the consul was as follows:
He had rigged the king's dug-out at Oulan as a
schooner, and with two of his old Leonora hands sailed for Ponape, where they
took in provisions of coconuts and pigs en route for Guam. According to
Hayes's story he knew there were Spanish convicts at Guam, 'but he did not
dream they were so loosely guarded that they could get aboard his
schooner.' His log narrated that he had anchored under the lee of the island
and landed on the sandy beach abreast of his vessel, that he might have a surf
bath. Before he knew it a dozen or more convicts had piled aboard his
schooner, evidently with the intention of seizing her. 'I couldn't help that,'
The account given by the guards was somewhat
different. They swore that Hayes had stolen one batch of convicts and came
ashore for more, when they pounced upon him from their ambush in the mango
trees, and made him prisoner. When the convicts on board saw that Hayes was
nabbed, they cut cable and made off before a fresh Trade wind, carrying all
sail. they managed to fetch up somewhere on the coast of Borneo, wrecked the
schooner, and made good their escape.
When I called upon Hayes in the Manila gaol I found
him in the midst of the governor's family on the veranda, discussing religious
matters. He was reading very devoutly the copy of the Bible I had sold him at
Oulan. The officers of the gunboat that brought him from Guam had written
opposite his name on the logbook, Cristiano.
Hayes became a chum of the governor of the prison,
and also struck up a warm friendship with the priest, who baptized him in the
Roman Catholic faith while he was locked up. Now that he was converted to the
true faith, Hayes found an all-powerful friend in the Bishop in Manila. The
buccaneer was a penitent, and he made a most impressive and moving figure.
Fever had twisted and shrunken him until I recognized him only by his long
beard and his unusual height and breadth. The light free spring of his gait
was gone, and he was the picture of the shuffling monk. to behold the old
free-booter, penniless, reduced by sickness, tall, gaunt, with flowing white
beard half a fathom long, marching barefooted at the head of a religious
procession, and carrying the tallest candle of them all, softened the hearts
of this enemies, if he had any in Manila.
His accusers retracted their charges, and were
covered with confusion. After his release, Hayes obtained passage home from
Manila on the ship Whittier, bound for San Francisco. The U.S. consul
vouched for him as a destitute American seaman. He found himself in clover on
the Whittier. Parcels containing comforts and knick-knacks of various kinds
were sent him from ships in the harbour, and the captain of the Whittier,
being of a religious turn of mind, treated the reformed buccaneer like a
This story of Slocum's is in complete agreement with
the character of Bully Hayes. Her we see how ready he was to make the best of
a bad business, how quick to realize his opportunity and seize it, acting the
part of the repentant sinner with such clever mimicry and apparent sincerity
that the conquest of the good priests was certain from the start. The
religious seaman has always been an easy prey for his unscrupulous and
irreligious brother salt, and aboard the Whittier it is not surprising that
Hayes had an easy task. One may be certain, how4ever, that Bully Hayes played
his part with absolute genius. No cheapjack could ever rival him in gulling
those whom he set out to gull, and one is tempted to think that he must often
have deceived even himself into believing that his acting was genuine and his
speech nothing but the truth.
Slocum has another story to tell of Hayes's gift for
making friends with the clergy. This story, however, does not read as true as
the first; Slocum had his dates wrong, and seems to have been gulled in his
turn by the plausible Hayes. His statement runs as follows:
My first meeting with Hayes was in 1873 off the
island of Oulan. 'Yonder lie the bones of my ship the Leonora; she was once
the missionary ship John Williams, lost in a gale of wind,' said Hayes.
While he was on board this morning Bully Hayes got a
note from an old missionary, the Reverend Mr. Snow, begging the old pirate to
come to his village in a hurry and settle a row between a white beachcomber
and his native wife. 'Come quickly, dear brother,' writes the parson. Here is
that old sundowner Bully Hayes a pal and brother of this missionary.
In the Philippines tradition has is that Bully Hayes
was a prisoner of the Spaniards for nine months. I can find no trace of the
Whittier's sailing date from Manila, but the San Francisco Daily
Evening Post printed the statement that Bully Hayes landed at that port
from the schooner about Aril or May 1876.
It is a longish passage between the Philippines and
San Francisco, and we do not know the course steered by the Whittier's captain
or whether she called anywhere on her way. From the lack of sensational
newspaper reports, or indeed of any news concerning the notorious Bully Hayes
during this period, we may conclude that the Whittier jogged quietly across
the Pacific, and that her passage, if of some duration, was also pleasant and
THE LAST TRAVERSE
There is one fact in Hayes's life which speaks well
for the South Sea rover, and that is that wherever he went he seems to have
had a number of friends who were not afraid to stand by him and even lend him
money or help him to get started again in the command of another vessel. No
sooner had Hayes landed at San Francisco than an old friend, Captain Ogden,
began interesting himself on his behalf, with the result that Hayes was
presently in a position to buy the well-known schooner yacht Lotus,
registering 13 tons net, from a certain Captain Moody. According to the San
Francisco Evening Post on November 1876, he was also able to load this little
vessel with 5,000 dollars' worth of trade. The Evening Post goes on to
hint that the friends of the notorious Colonel Steinberger were at the back of
this new enterprise, for it was rumoured that the Lotus was bound for
Samoa. The article ends as follows:
Hayes, with all his faults, has friends who speak
well of him. He has betrayed his trusts, he was stolen, and rumour says that he
has committed murder. Indeed, it is evident that it could only be at the point
of the pistol he or any man like him could keep his crew in order, and his
friends all confess that he cared as little about killing a man as he would
about killing a fly.
Those who wish to speak well of him tell many tales
of his daring in saving life in shipwreck, and his tenderness to the
survivors. He appears to labour to leave
'A corsair's name to other
Linked to one virtue and a
With regard to this life-saving reputation, Becke, in
one of his articles, declared that Hayes had a watch on which was the
From Issac Steuart of New York to
Captain William Henry Hayes of
A gift ef esteem and respect for his bravery
in rescuing the lives of 27 persons at
the risk of his own
Honor to the Brave.
According to Charles Elson, the mate of the Lotus,
bully Hayes took on a partner who had a very pretty wife, both of whom were to
sail. the only other member of the little schooner's crew was a Scandinavian
cook and roustabout named Peter Radeck, commonly called Dutch Pete. The San
Francisco Bulletin seems to hint that Captain R. L. Ogden was acting
either as the agent or the owner of the Lotus when she cleared for Apia
on October 7th, 1876.the Lotus actually sailed on October 9th with four
people aboard - Hayes, his partner's wife, Charles Elson, and Peter Radeck.
Elson apparently was taken on as mate because he had tried to get Hayes
released by the Spaniards in 1875 when he was in the barque Canada at
An account of the Lotus's voyage, as told to R. B.
Kidd by Elson, was published in the New York magazine Adventure in 1914.
According to Elson, on the night of October 8th, the schooner then being out
in the bay all ready to sail the following morning, Bully Hayes went ashore
with his partner and his partner's wife. At midnight Hayes and the woman
returned. Elson asked Hayes what had happened to his partner, but the latter
went below without doing more than make a flippant and non-committal reply,
upon which the mate made the following comment:
Hayes was not the man to stand cross-examination. I
knew we would never see the missing man again, whatever might have been his
fate, and Hayes knew that I knew it. Hayes passed a lot of time in the woman's
company, and later I had cause to think him very much smitten with her.
Becke's account is somewhat different from Elson's He
declares that Bully Hayes persuaded the owner of the yacht to fit her for 'a
lucrative trading cruise to the Marshall and Caroline Islands,' which would be
'a delightful experience' for the owner and his wife. Becke goes on to state
that the schooner sailed, but when off Alcatraz Island hove to and landed the
owner in a hopelessly doped condition, but there is probably no more truth in
this account than in Becke's assertion that the murder of Bully Hayes was
deliberately planned by the doped man's wife and the mate.
According to the Bulletin, the Lotus sailed the
following morning without Bully Hayes's mysterious partner. She was not many
days out from the Farallones before she encountered a nasty storm, which,
declares Elson, 'played havoc with the water casks.' No doubt these casks were
lashed on deck and were either washed overboard or stove in, or possibly the
salt water drained in and rendered their contents undrinkable. It had been
Hayes's intention to make a straight run to Apia, but owing to the lack of
water all thought of this course had to be abandoned. Elson suggested putting
into either Honolulu or Lahaina, but Hayes, with a laugh, declared that both
these places were unhealthy for him Two days later the schooner touched at the
north-western point of Hawaii, where she replenished her water casks, and then
proceeded direct for Apia.
By this time trouble had started between Peter and
the old man. The former had signed on as cook, but in such a short-handed
ship's company he was expected to stand his watch and trick at the wheel.
Elson wrote: 'the man was surly, and thought he had come aboard for an easy
time of it. But we kept him busy.'
Two or three days after the storm, Hayes, who was at
the tiller, called out to Dutch Pete, 'Come aft and take this tiller.'
The surly cook came slowly aft evidently full of his
many grievances, but Hayes was used to having men jump to his orders, and he
roared ou5 with an oath, 'here, you Dutch fool, come and take the tiller.'
'Take the tiller, is it? Take the tiller, is it?'
exclaimed the man angrily. 'It's nothing but work, work all the time aboard
this packer! I'm the cook of this schooner, not the navigator.'
This was too much for Bully Hayes. 'You could feel
the Captain's rage,' was Elson's description Hayes immediately made the tiller
ropes fast and strode forward. He was much taller man than the Dutchman, and
as he glared down upon the latter he said between his clenched teeth. 'Oh,
you're the cook of this schooner, are you? Well, I'm the master; do you know
'Yes, sir,' stuttered the cook, who was now
'You lie!' roared Bully Hayes,' you don't know it,
but I'm going to impress it on you so that you won't forge tit in a hurry.'
And with that Hayes's ponderous fist took the man between the eyes. the cook
fell stunned to the deck with the blood pouring from his mouth and nose.
Without taking any notice of the victim Hayes turned and called out to the
mate, 'Here, Elson, I'm going below.' The latter then took the tiller, and the
old man did not come on deck again till the following morning.
I have not the exact date when the Lotus
touched at Hawaii, but it must have been some time in November, for the
Hawaiian Gazette of December 1876 reports:
William Henry Hayes, the somewhat celebrated ocean
rover, is reported to have been the last week at Kawahae, Sandwich Islands, in
the yacht Lotus of San Francisco, bound for the Navigator Islands.
The little schooner had a quick run to Apia, where
the reception given to Hayes by both Samoans and Europeans greatly astonished
his mate. The pirate was welcomed like a conquering hero. The anchor was
hardly down before the American consul, the British consul, the captain of the
port, and a whole host of Hayes's Samoan friends crowded aboard to greet the
Big Captain. No mention is made of Hayes's wife or children; no doubt they
also made merry at the return of the famous prodigal.
An entry in the Fiji Times of April 4thk, 1877
gives us the date that the Lotus left Samoa. Its report runs as
Bully Hayes was at Apia when
the schooner Charybidis arrived, but left the day following (January 2nd, 1877
for Providence and Strong's Island. An immense number of coconuts is said to
be in store at th4ese places, awaiting the arrival of Hayes, who assumes to be
the proprietor of Providence Island, which is consequently unworked by
Bully Hayes could not be happy without attempting to
hoodwink somebody, and whilst the Lotus lay at Apia, he seized the occasion to
persuade Dr. Ingolls to sail with him to Jaluit, promising him a fee of 2,000
dollars in return for treating the sick king of that island. Dr. Ingolls,
though he never saw even a half-inch washer, much less 2,000 dollars, must
have had an interesting trip on the Lotus, for on his way north Bully
Hayes seems to have stopped at every island in the Kingsmill Group.
Everywhere, to Elson's astonishment, Hayes was
received with the utmost delight and friendliness by the natives. Elson
himself was also treated with great consideration by his captain, who
evidently wished to impress the natives with the former's importance as being
now his right-hand man. No doubt Hayes was bent on re-establishing his trading
stations throughout these islands, though Elson never mentions any of the
white traders to whom Hayes addressed letters before he ran away from
The Jaluit atoll was the last bit of land on which
bully Hayes ever set foot. The island was discovered by the brig Elizabeth
in 1809. There were from three to four hundred natives settled on the group in
bully Hayes's time, a friendly, hard-working people who had been for many
years under the control of the American Honolulu Mission.
These natives had, however, to live down a bad
reputation, for in 1853 they cut off a trading schooner and massacred
everybody aboard save one man. the schooner, having sailed in through the
reef, anchored close to the shore of an islet which was then called Imurott.
Whilst Captain Mackenzie of this schooner was being carried ashore from his
boat on the back of a native, a man sneaked up behind him and nearly severed
his head from its body by a blow with a hatchet. This was evidently a
pre-arranged signal, for immediately the boat's crew were attacked, and also
those left aboard. The man who escaped was a native of Manila who happened to
be working aloft at the time. The Jaluit Islanders came swarming up the
rigging after him, but he was so active, slipping across from one mast to the
other by means of the stays and then back again, that the natives, who were
unused to climbing about a ship's rigging, were quite unable to catch him. At
last the chief called out, 'That is my boy, spare him.' The schooner was then
pillaged, burnt, and sunk.
One of the worst characters amongst the beachcombers
in this part of the Pacific was killed on Jaluit Island a year or two before
Bully Hayes began trading there. This was a man named George Cunningham, a
deserter from a New Bedford whaler who, after having to fly from Japan owing
to his many misdeeds, settled upon Ebon Island under the protection of old
King Kiabooke. Here he gathered together a gang of the worst ruffians in the
Western Pacific. Besides robbing the storehouse of Messrs. Capelle at Ebon,
Cunningham and his gang went farther abroad on raiding expeditions, amongst
the stations raided with success being that of Jaluit.
When old King Kiabooke died about 1862 Cunningham and
his followers, being without their protector, were obliged to fly for their
lives from Mille. They slipped away during the night and landed at Jaluit,
where a second attempt was made to loot the station. this time, however, the
people of Jaluit were ready for them, and George Cunningham was shot dead as
he advanced to the attack.
When the Lotus arrived at Jaluit, Bully Hayes
proceeded to set the doctor ashore with his traps, and, according to Ingolls,
warned him that if he tried to make a noise over his treatment he would only
succeed in getting his bones broken.
The unhappy Dutch Pete here made an attempt to
desert, but he was soon caught, and according to the doctor, was triced up to
the mainmast and given a sound flogging.
Dr. Ingolls stated that the Lotus left Jaluit
on March 31st, 1877.
'We're bound for Ascension,' explained Bully Hayes to
his mate, 'to restore my trading station. I have planned to run back later to
Strong's Island on some important business. Mr. Snow, the missionary of the
place, is a splendid man, and I feel grateful to him for the aid he gave me
after my brig had been wrecked.'
Louis Becke gives another reason for Hayes's wish to
return to Strong's Island. In an article entitled ''The Ultimate Fate of
Captain Bully Hayes by Louis Becke, his Super-cargo and Recruiter,' which, I
am afraid, is full of inaccuracies from beginning to end, he writes:
The day before he (Bully
Hayes) fled from the island (Strong's Island) in the small boat, he concealed
some thousands of dollars at a spot in the vicinity of South Harbour, and he
was undoubtedly going there to recover the buried money when he met with his
death. It is quite possible that some day it may be discovered. In all -
having counted it, I know - there was nearly 8,000 dol., not the 250,000 dol.
one writer on Hayes has written so glibly about.
Of this 8,000 dol., less than
3,000 dol. consisted of good American and British gold and silver coins; the
rest were Bolivian and Chilian half-dollars, worth but a little over half of
their face value. One bag of nearly 1,000 Mexican dollars Hayes took away with
him to Guam. so much for the absurd story of the 250,000 dollars 'buried in a
cave on Strong's Island' - on which, by the way, there are no caves.
This statement must, I fear,
be taken, like most of Becke's writings for the newspapers, with a great deal
of salt. Bully Hayes was hardly the man to fly from a British man-of-war in
such a state of panic that he only took 1,000 Mexican dollars with him when he
might have taken 8,000, and I am very much afraid that my treasure-hunting
expedition promoted to search the island for the south Sea buccaneer's buried
gold will fail.
We now come to the final
tragedy in bully Hayes's life. The best account of the killing of Bully Hayes
is that of the mate, Charles Elson, whose story is very clear as transcribed
by R. B. Kidd in Adventure:
Soon after we dropped the land
the skies grew dark and threatening, and there began to be mutterings from the
heavens thqat put foreboding of disaster in my heart. Hayes moved about
constantly that afternoon and night, making ready for the blow that we knew
would soon strike the Lotus. He stood his watch, too, like the rest of us.
Within a few hours the wind from the north-west had whipped up a tremendous
sea. the night was black; the rain fell in heavy showers; the wind blew a
hurricane. As the craft would rise to the crest of each wave the squalls would
heed her over till I thought she must turn turtle, but Hayes kept her steady
on the course. It seemed as if that tiller were the very wrist of the storm,
and each breath of wind, each heave of the sea, told him when to ease the
Lotus off and give her a chance to shake her body free from the blue of her
On watch with Hayes stood the
Dutchman. I've always wished since that I had refused to go below and stood a
double trick with the old man. Peter lived in mortal terror of the Captain,
who had punished him pretty severely for deserting. I'm not prepared to say so
of my own knowledge, but it is not impossible that the woman might have been
the cause for some of the hard feeling. Anyhow, Hayes had been away from her a
good deal while in Apia.
In the stern of the Lotus was
a little cockpit, a couple of steps leading from it into the cabin. Inside the
pit stood the helmsman. A narrow deck space ran around it, while about this
deck rose a bulwark about 12 inches in height. I went below about ten o'clock,
tired out. For perhaps two hours I slept. Suddenly I woke, sitting in my bunk.
Some sort of sharp report had waked me. I first thought it thunder. Then
'Bang! Bang!' I knew a revolver was being fired.
'The captain has killed that
Dutchman at last!' I exclaimed, bounding out of the cabin.
Though the might of a gale
struck my face, fear oppressed me so I couldn't get air into my lungs.
I can see that scene as if it
were last night. When my feet landed me in the cockpit, the night seemed as
black as if the black of a hundred nights were crowded into that moment.
Before me were two forms - the big frame of Hayes, the figure of Peter. Both
stood on the deck above the cockpit, Hugh in the air the sailor held a strange
object that looked like a cross. But for only a second did I see them there.
Before I could stir or utter a
cry, the cross fell full upon the skull of the captain. Instantly his clenched
hands dropped to his sides, his head fell on his bosom, his knees sagged, and
as the Lotus swept into the trough of the sea, his massive body lurched
backward into the water.
'What have you done?' I
yelled. The Dutchman stood trembling with fright. 'He try kill me!'
A second later I jumped for
the tiller, shoved it hard aport, and brought the vessel up into the wind.
'Captain! Captain!' I
shrieked. 'Hold on a minute! We're coming for you!'
But full well I knew Hayes had
gone where no human voice or hand could reach him.
'Why did you kill the
captain?' I demanded.
'Oh! Don't go back! 'Peter
kept pleading. 'Captain may kill me!'
Though beside himself with
terror, Peter managed to tell incoherently of the murder. When he failed to
obey an order promptly Hayes had started toward him, declaring he would kill
the sailor and toss his body overboard. Peter, standing just forward of the
cockpit, had prepared himself. As Hayes leaped for him, the sailor drew a
revolver and fired in rapid succession. How many bullets struck Hayes or how
many mortal wounds were inflicted, none can say. Some of the shots must have
caused that mighty strength to rush out Hayes's body, else the trembling
sailor would never have had time to snatch up the boom-crutch and strike the
blow that crushed in the skull of the buccaneer and sent his body to its grave
in the Pacific.
The first newspaper report of
Hayes's death was published in the San Francisco Post of June 1877, and
runs as follows:
Captain Hayes, of the
schooner-yacht Lotus, which sailed from this port October 9th, 1876, for the
Samoan Islands, was murdered in March last by the cook, a
Dutchman, who shipped in Samoa as cook and seaman. The Lotus left Bonham
Island (Jaluit) one of the Marshall Group, and six days afterwards eh came
back, and the following information was obtained from the man acting as mate:
The second day out the captain
spoke to the man at the wheel - who was cook and seaman - about his steering.
Some altercation followed, and the captain went below. When he came up the
companion-way some time after, the man let go the tiller and struck Captain
Hayes on the head with the crutch belonging to the main boom. He fell and
immediately expired. No firearms of any kind were found on him. the
acting-mate at the time was below sleeping. The vessel returned to Bonham
Island (Jaluit) as soon as possible. The captain was buried at sea.
The Maggie Johnston arrived at
Bonham (Jaluit) the latter part of March. The mater was explained to Captains
Bliven and Henry, and it was found that the mate (not having signed any
articles or papers of agreement of any kind to bind himself to the vessel) had
to control over her at all. Rumours of her going away to other islands in
other hands got about, which induced Messrs. Capelle & Co., a large German
firm there, to ask Captains Bliven and Henry, as American citizens, to do
something in the matter. The only thing they could do was to deliver the
vessel's papers to Capelle & Co. for safe keeping, until her owners in San
Francisco could communicate instructions.
The acting-mate was left in
charge, and did everything possible to fix things up. An inventory of all
goods on board was taken, and all were stored in Capelle & Co.'s warehouse.
The vessel was to be moored to 1,600 lb. anchor, sails unbent and put on shore
in the warehouse. All was not completed when th4e Maggie Johnston left
on May 15th, but it was expected that everything would be fixed on that day.
The above account, it will be
seen, contradicts the mate's story of the shooting.
The Fiji Times of
September 1st, 1877 also gave a report of Hayes's death which it had received
from the trader Black Hank, which had met the American schooner Maggie
Johnston at the island of Makin.
Fr. Ingolis, writing to the
Hawaiian Annual, stated:
The Lotus left Jaluit on March
31st, 1877, but returned in less than a month. It was then learned that,
shortly after sailing, Hayes had another row with the Norwegian sailor, and
punished him severely, if not savagely. But on the fellow's continual
resistance it is said (yet there is some uncertainty at this point) that Hayes
went into the cabin for a pistol, avowedly to shoot the Norwegian with. In any
event (so reads the testimony) the sailor took the boom crutch (a heavy piece
of iron) in his hand, and when Hayes's head appeared above the companion-way
the man struck him fairly, and stove in the top of his skull.
This was the last of bully
Hayes, but as the years flit romance is deftly weaving her web about his name,
and shall at last pattern the woof to some Sea mosaic of splendid unrealities.
Nothing was done to punish
Dutch Pete, who for many years after this date lived and was well known in the
south Sea Islands. The mysterious lady passenger, the wife of Bully Hayes's
partner, made her way to Honolulu, where, according to the mate, she died in
poverty and blindness.
The pretty little Lotus
lay at Jaluit for some time. At last she was taken over by the master of a
Californian schooner acting under a power of attorney from Hayes's partner,
who had been left behind in San Francisco. After this she came into the
possession of a Honolulu firm, and in 1884 once more visited Jaluit Harbour.
Not long after this date she was bought by Messrs. A. Crawford of San
Francisco; they sold her to a Jaluit trader. Finally she became the property
of a native chief, who left her to rot lying on the reef in Jaluit Harbour,
where she was still to be seen at the beginning of the nineties.
The account of the killing of
Bully Hayes given in Adventure winds up with the following paragraph:
Despite his evil life Hayes
carried something big in his soul. Nature used the extremes of emotion when
she moulded him. To the student of human nature Bully Hayes is a pathetic
figure. Only fifty years of age when slain, he might have attained an
honourable career had he but learnt self-discipline early in life. He was
indeed a strange mixture of a man, this 'Last of the Buccaneers.'
This is not a bad summing up
of Hayes's character. I fear there is no doubt, however, that he was one of
those unfortunates who could not run straight, and and this defect, along with
a passionate and uncontrolled nature, brought about his downfall
notwithstanding his great capacity for business and his unfailing cleverness.
Yet for all 'his many
disastrous set-backs, Bully Hayes managed to keep on higher plane than the
common everyday law-breaker, in spite of the fact that he probably started
life amongst as rough and lawless a crowd as the American Middle West could
produce. We must remember that he had no education, no book-learning, no
training in the elegancies of life, and probably no religious teaching in his
youth, so that like Masefield's Vagabond he could well exclaim:
Dunno a heap about the
what an' why,
Can't say's I ever
Heaven to me's a fair
blue stretch of sky,
Earth's jest a dusty
We must also make some allowance for
the easy morals of the South Seas. The Pacific is the Ocean of Liberty -'
Everything goes,' as the professional gambler in the Wild West saloon used to
The full o' flood and the fall o' tide,
there's little to guide between.
And men lacking in control need
guidance or they will surely run amuck. Bully Hayes certainly did run amuck -
but he paid, and that without flinching. A bad man, and a friend of bad men, yet
there is no doubt that James Chalmers and men less charitable than the great
missionary saw good in him. We will let it go at that.
Steady to the gangway - watch the rollin'!
It's time to pipe poor Bully Hayes below.
The sun was up. the Tropic Bird was
running for the Pass. Papeete lay ahead. Le Diademe towered into the sky beyond
On either hand fantastic peaks,
green valleys, and whit4e beaches charmed our eyes; whilst the thunder of the
breakers, tumbling over the fringing reef in a welter of sun-kissed foam, filled
The soft balmy morning air seemed to
be all a-quiver with radiant sunbeams, which flashed an sparkled on the racing
wave-tops, before which the schooner dipped and curtseyed as the long green seas
ran in steady procession under her keel.
We passengers had all been on deck
since daylight, and the land fall at sunrise had prepared our senses for the
wondrous beauty which almost overwhelmed the soul as the Tropic Bird
quickly neared the lovely island of Tahiti.
And now that the moment was fast
approaching when we were to exchange the spiritual peace of a life on the Great
Deep for the petty material worries of the land - albeit that land was of a
sweetness unearthly - we of th4e schooner's afterguard were oppressed with that
familiar feeling of impending separation.
This world would be a healthier,
happier, better place if it was not for the tugging at the heart-strings
associated with that beautiful Saxon word: Good-bye! god be with you! or its
equally beautiful South Sea counterpart: Aloha oe! Love to you!
'Waal, boys, it's been a good
passage and a mighty pleasant trip socially,' remarked old Captain Silas a
couple of hours later as he stood at the gangway shaking hands. 'I hope you
won't all forget the old Tropic Bird and her captain.'
'No fear of that,' I spoke up
heartily. 'I've got all your yarns of the old South Sea days down on paper along
with the voyages of the peerless Leonora and the strange ways and queer doings
of her captain, Bully Hayes, the pirate of the Pacific.'