“I have come, sir,” said he, “to restore to you your vessel, which I understand was stolen by Spanish treachery.”
“You are welcome,” answered Hartog. “I thank Providence that my ship has fallen into honest hands. I have yet to learn to whom I owe its recovery. May I hope that you will favour me with your name?”
“Montbar,” replied the stranger, and at the mention of his name both Hartog and I started.
“You honour us by your visit, sir,” said Hartog, with a bow as graceful as that with which Captain Montbar acknowledged it. “Your reputation is known to all seamen as that of a brave man and a princely gentleman.”
Hartog then led the way to the Queen’s house, where we proposed to confer together as to the circumstances which had occasioned Captain Montbar’s arrival.
Captain Montbar was known to us, and to most navigators at this time, as a French gentleman of fortune who, having heard of the cruelties practised by the Spaniards, had conceived an aversion against them which amounted almost to frenzy. He had heard of the buccaneers, who were known to be the most inveterate enemies of Spain, and, in order to join them, he fitted out a frigate which he placed at their disposal, together with his own services. The achievements of this frigate were so pronounced, and the Spaniards suffered so much from Montbar’s exploits, that he acquired the name of ‘Exterminator.’ His intrepidity would never let him suffer the least signs of cowardice among those who associated with him. In the heat of an engagement he went about his ship, observing his men, and immediately killing those who shrank at the report of pistol, gun, or cannon. This extraordinary discipline had made him the terror of the coward and the idol of the brave. In other respects he readily shared with such of his men as showed spirit the great booty that was acquired by his fearless disposition. When he went upon these buccaneering expeditions he sailed in his frigate, his own property, nor would he take a lion’s share of the treasure obtained from captured Spanish merchantmen, but divided it equally with those who formed his ship’s company.
Such was the remarkable man to whom we owed the restoration of the “Golden Seahorse”.
From Captain Montbar we learned the particulars connected with the recovery of our ship from the Spaniards.