John Lambert Genealogy
4. JOHN LAMBERT, whose birth and baptism are not recorded in
Salem, was probably the oldest child. From a deed made in 1686, of the land left
him by his grandfather, we find that he had then a wife Sarah, while from a deed
made in 1695, unless there is an error in the recorded copy, it would appear
that he had a wife Margaret. Nothing is found regarding him in the land or
probate records, except two deeds, and the only child whose name is found is the
daughter Sarah, - mentioned in her grandfather's will, but Sewall mentions a
son. He is called a shipwright in the deeds.
May 7, 1686, John Lambert sold to William Swetland, tailor, his grandfather's
house in Beverly, next the old meeting house and the burying place, which he had
received from John Lambert, the first, and a parcel of land on Bass river, and
took in return for it Swetland's house, and Mar. 2, 1695/6, he sold to Daniel
Bacon of Salem, fisherman, the piece of land in the South Field which his father
had bought of Thomas Maule.
The lack of information about him in Salem records is abundantly made good,
however, upon reference to the Acts and Resolves of the Province of
Massachusetts Bay (vol. 8, pp. 386-398). From 1700 for some years there was more
or less controversy and confusion in practice as to the question of jurisdiction
in the matter of trials for piracy on the high seas. Kidd and his fellows were
sent to London by Bellomont, notwithstanding Judge Sewall's objection. This
delay and the difficulty over that case induced Parliament to confer upon the
Crown authority to issue commissions for the trial of pirates by Courts of
Admiralty, out of the realm. This act was dated Nov. 23, 1700.
A number of leading citizens of Boston fitted out as a privateer, in 1703, a
brigantine of eighty tons-the Charles "-for an expedition against the French
enemies of England in Acadia and Newfoundland. She was to be commanded by Capt.
Daniel Plowman, and as late as Aug. 1st the " Charles ", manned and equipped,
was riding off Marblehead, when Plowman wrote the owners that, owing to severe
illness, he was unable to take her to sea and urging their speedy coming to take
care of the ship. They accordingly went to Marblehead, and though Plowman was
too ill to see them, he wrote begging that the vessel be sent to Boston and her
equipment removed, and that they should not send her to sea under a new
commander, declaring "it will not do with these people " (meaning her crew).
Before measures could be taken, the crew locked the commander into the cabin;
where he lay sick, and, under the command of one John Quelch, made for the South
Atlantic. At some time the captain, alive or dead, was thrown overboard. Off the
coast of Brazil they captured, between Nov. 15, 1703, and Feb. 17, 1703/4, nine
vessels of various descriptions, apparently all the property of subjects of the
King of Portugal, an ally of England, from which they took food, fabrics,
gold-dust, and two negro boys, together with guns, ammunition, &c., of about
Nothing was heard of the ship until May, 1704, when the Boson News-Letter
reported her arrival at Marblehead. The crew seem to have landed or at once
dispersed to various points, but very soon many circumstances arose to throw
suspicion upon their story of the recovery of great treasure from a wreck. Two
of the owners, William Clark and Charles Colman, laid information against them,
and on May 23 the attorney-general, Paul Dudley, set out to capture them, for on
that day Judge Sewall met Dudley at the tavern in Lynn, " in egre pursuit of the
Pirats" and with one of them already in hand, whom he turned over to Sewall.
Energetic action resulted in the seizing of a number of the men at various
places, and among the number was John Lambert of Salem, then about fortynine
years of age.
On June 20, 1704, Lambert and four others were tried, Quelch having been
convicted of the felony, piracy and murder, and sentence of death pronounced
upon him the previous day, when they pleaded " not guilty," but were sentenced
to " Dy in like manner." Twenty-two in all were tried and but two at that time
acquitted, one having been sick on the voyage and the other a servant fourteen
years of age. June 30, 1704, Quelch, Lambert and five more were executed, except
one, Francis King, who had a reprieve.
Judge Sewall records in his Diary: "After Diner, about 3. p. m. I went to see
the Execution. Many were the people that saw upon Broughton's Hill. But when I
came to see how the River was cover'd with People I was amazed: Some say there
were 100 Boats. 150 Boats and Canoes saith Cousin Moody of York. He told them.
... the place of Execution about the midway between Hanson's point and
Broughton's Warehouse. When the scaffold was hoisted to a due height, the seven
Malefactors went up; Mr Mather pray'd for them standing upon the Boat. Ropes
were all fasten'd to the Gallows (save King, who was Reprieved). When the
Scaffold was let to sink, there was such a Screech of the Women that my wife
heard it sitting in our Entry next the Orchard, and was much surprised at it;
yet the wind was sou-west. Our house is a full mile from the place." Sewall
continues his account on July 2: "By my Order, the diggers of Mm Paiges Tomb
dugg a Grave for Lambert, where he was laid in the Old burying place Friday
night about midnight near some of his Relations: Body was given to his Widow.
Son and others made Suit to me." The editors suggest that the reason John
Lambert was thus allowed special burial was that he may have had respectable
connections. In his last speech Lambert "pleaded much on his innocency " and
desired all men to beware of bad company."
Some time later a number of the remaining pirates received the Queen's pardon,
and Sewall and some others seem to have had misgivings as to the legality of the
trials, and certainly not all the men could have been proved guilty as
principals in the acts of piracy or murder, and they were evidently entitled to
a jury trial, but they did not have even the benefit of a doubt. It is called a
clear case of judicial murder.
14. SARAH, b. bef. 1684.
14a. A SON, only known through the reference in Sewall's Diary.
Parents: John Lambert