Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Green, Thomas (d.1705)

GREEN, THOMAS (d. 1705), captain of the Worcester, East Indiaman, on his homeward voyage in 1705, coming north-about to avoid the French cruisers, was forced by stress of weather to put into the Forth while the Scotch public was in a state of wild exasperation consequent on the still recent seizure of the Scotch East Indiaman Annandale in the Thames. The Worcester was arrested by way of reprisal, and was secured at Burnt-island. It then began to be rumoured that the Worcester was not the harmless trader she professed to be, but while in the East Indies had been engaged in piracy. The drunken talk of one of the seamen seemed to corroborate the notion, and a black cook's mate gave positive evidence of the capture of a ship and the murder of the crew. Other evidence was adduced in support of this; and though it was shown that the negro did not join the Worcester till long after the time referred to, and that the other witnesses were not on board, the public feeling ran so strong that Green and his officers were found guilty of piracy and murder, the charge specially naming Captain Robert Drummond and the crew of the Speedy Return as having been so robbed and murdered. There was not only no clear legal evidence of piracy and murder at all, but there was none whatever that Drummond had been murdered, or that he was even dead. But popular fury demanded a victim, and Green, the chief mate Madder, and the gunner Simpson, were accordingly hanged on 11 April 1705, the government being afraid of the riot which threatened to break out if the condemned culprits were pardoned. And yet before the execution had taken place the Raper galley had arrived from the East Indies, and on 30 March two of her seamen made affidavit before the mayor of Portsmouth that they had belonged to the Speedy Return, of which Robert Drummond was captain; that while they were lying in Port Maritan in Madagascar, Drummond and several of the crew being on shore, a large body of pirates came on board, seized the ship, and put to sea in her, took her to Rajapore, and there burnt her, and that they were never attacked by the Worcester or any other ship. There is no reason to doubt the truth of this story, delivered on oath; but it receives additional confirmation from the narrative of Robert Drury (fl. 1729) [q. v.], in which it is said that Drummond's ship was taken by pirates at Madagascar; that Drummond, with three or four hands, was permitted to go on shore near Fort Dauphin (Madagascar, or Robert Drury's Journal,p. 18), and that he was killed at Tullea, seven leagues to the northward of Augustine Bay, by 'one Lewes, a Jamaica negro' (ib. p. v). Writing more than twenty years afterwards, Captain Hamilton (New Account of the East Indies (2nd ed.), i. 320) expressed his opinion that whether Green was innocent of Drummond's murder or not, he deserved hanging for other crimes, and that substantial justice was done. It must, however, be remembered that Hamilton was a Scotchman writing in Scotland [see Hamilton, Alexander].

[The Tryal of Capt. Thomas Green and his Crew ... for Piracy, Robbery, and Murder. Published by authority, Edinburgh, 1705, fol.; The