10. Brutal Final Words From Calico Jack’s Lover
In 1719, John Rackham, AKA Calico Jack, accepted a royal pardon, renounced piracy, and was commissioned by the governor of the Bahamas to hunt pirates. However, a love triangle that involved Anne Bonny grew complicated, and the duo stole a slip and slipped out of the Bahamas. That voided Rackham’s recent pardon. In October 1720, a pirate hunter chanced upon Rackham’s ship at anchor, while Calico Jack and most of his men were too drunk to offer effective resistance. The only fight was made by the women, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, who offered fierce resistance before they were finally subdued.
Captured, Calico Jack was tried and convicted of piracy and was sentenced to death by hanging. His lover, spared the noose after “pleading her belly” – she was pregnant – had little sympathy for him. When he grew maudlin as he bade her goodbye before his execution, Bonny’s final words to him were brutal: “if you had fought like a man, you would not hang now like a dog!” He was hanged on November 18, 1720, and his corpse was displayed from a gibbet at the entrance to Port Royal, Jamaica, in an inlet known thereafter as Rackham’s Cay.