The Life and Surprizing Adventures of James Wyatt, born near Exeter, in Devonshire, in the Year 1707. Written by himself. Adorn’d with copper plates.
I. His entering himself Trumpeter on board the Revenge Privateer, Capt. James Wimble, May 29, 1741.
II. An Account of their Cruize ; and of his being taken Prisoner by the Spaniards ; with his wonderful Deliverance from Death.
III. The Manner of his escaping from the Spaniards, with Capt. Robert Winter, and five others.
IV. How they were drove by contrary Winds on the Coast of Barbary, where they were taken Prisoners by the Moors and the Hardships they endur’d among the Infidels. With the Manner of his Deliverance, and his Arrival safe in England after various Vicissitudes of Fortune.
Written by himself. TO THE READER. Kind Reader,
I had never published the following Account of my Life, had it not been at the Desire of several of my particular Friends. As they had heard (a considerable Time after I enter’d Trumpeter on board the Revenge Privateer) that I was kill’d, with several others, by the Spaniards, in attacking a Bark near the Canary Islands, my returning safe to England surpriz’d them very much, and made them curious to enquire into the Manner of my Deliverance.
I therefore being fatigu’d with continually relating the Account of our Cruize ; our Engagements with the Enemy ; my being made Prisoner, &c. resolv’d upon committing it to the Press, that every one might have an Opportunity of perusing it that was inclinable so to do.
Accordingly I communicated my Design to some Persons of good Sense and Learning, and ask’d their Opinion whether such a Thing would be acceptable to the Publick ; and, upon their assuring me that they believed it would, I immediately set about it ; and I hope it will give the Reader as much Satisfaction in reading it, as many of my Friends have receiv’d from a verbal Relation.
As I have hereafter given an Account of the Revenge Privateer’s Cruize, I shall here speak a Word or two concerning the Officers. Captain Wimble (who was Commander of the Privateer) was exceeding kind to me ; and behav’d, on all Occasions, with a great deal of Courage and Bravery: And all the other Officers behav’d in a Gentleman-like Manner, except one, viz. Mr. James Parry, whose ill Treatment I have mention’d at the Beginning of my Life, who nevertheless I freely forgave long before he was kill’d.
I have one Thing more to mention ; and that is, To assure the Reader that I have inserted nothing in the Account of my Life, but what, to the best of my Knowledge, is true: And therefore, though you should hereafter meet with some Things which may seem strange and surprizing; nay, almost incredible, yet you may be assur’d they are true, and as such safely relate them to others. Indeed as to the Day of the Month on which they happen’d, I cannot say but I may be mistaken as to a Day, or so, having lost my Journal when I was Prisoner among the Moors ; yet, even in that, I believe I have been pretty punctual. So hoping plain Truth will meet with a favourable Reception, I bid you heartily farewel.
— James Wyatt, in his autobiography The Life and Surprizing Adventures of James Wyatt, born near Exeter, in Devonshire, in the Year 1707