Wine, Wenches, and Song
It's no secret that pirates enjoyed carousing during their precious time ashore at any number of pirate havens including Port Royal, Tortuga Island, New Providence, and Madagascar (see Chapter 16). Their riotous behavior while imbibing in various on-land exploits is part of what has earned them their wild reputation over the centuries. Pirates worked hard and played hard, and the mere thought of setting two feet on solid ground with their pockets heavy with coin sent most pirates into a feeding frenzy.
Pirates didn't often save their riches, instead choosing to splurge on food, excessive drink, and prostitutes — luxuries that were obviously lacking aboard a pirate ship. More often than not, what ensued on-land was rampant drunkenness, whoring, gambling, fighting, and even the occasional duel, and there were plenty of career gamblers, tavern owners, and whores who were happy to exploit pirates primed for debauchery. Unfortunately for most pirates, once their hard-earned money was spent on what most God-fearing people would consider evil deeds, they would be forced to once again take to the seas in search of plunder.
Didn't pirates smoke pipes?
Given that smoking carried the inherent risk of fire or explosion, pirates were usually limited to chewing tobacco while onboard unless they had a covered pipe that could be safely enjoyed away from any munitions. When ashore at a tavern or punch house, they commonly smoked long-stemmed clay pipes called
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
As described in Chapter 9, pirate cuisine while onboard ship was something only a starving individual could possibly desire. When a pirate ship put to shore, proper food was a high priority, especially anything that was insect-free with nary a maggot in sight. Given that pirates were typically desperate for a hot meal, they were often happy with whatever food, or
In the Caribbean during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a popular concoction was
The pirate haven of Port Royal was known for a particularly lethal rum punch appropriately called
A pirate who had too much to drink would often be
Most pirate havens were swarming with prostitutes who were more than happy to take money from pirates and sailors who'd spent months at sea with nary a wench in sight. The act of
Port Royal was particularly overrun by working girls. One whorehouse teeming with treachery was that owned by John Starr, who featured twenty-one Caucasian women and two African-American women. Among Port Royal's wenches was the infamous Englishwoman Mary Carleton, dubbed “The German Princess.” Her self-proclaimed status as a German princess came about as a result of fraud, after she married John Carleton in London during the 1660s. After a trial and subsequent acquittal, she wrote and acted in a London theatrical play about herself.
Carleton's ruses, however, endured for the next decade as she continued her fraudulent portrayals in order to lure and rob various men of their money. Eventually sentenced for bigamy and various thefts, she was transported to Port Royal in 1671. Not a woman to sit still for long, she found pirates and other scoundrels to be easy prey. Sources describe Mary as “common as a barber's chair: no sooner was one out, but another was in.” Carleton's wicked ways eventually caught up with her and after returning to England without permission in 1673, she was finally captured and summarily hanged.