• Gasparilla

Published Date

  • published 1940


Bid good day to the officer of the United States and tell him that
I appreciate the energy with which he has spoken of me and my
companions-in-arms. Nothing can intimidate us; we run the same
fortune, and our maxim is that "the goods of this world belong to the
strong and valiant."

The occupation of the Floridas is a pledge that the course I follow
is comformable [sic] to the policy pursued by the United States.

(Signed) Richard Cocur de Leon.

The next year, however, Gasparilla felt the war against them was too
strong to continue. He and his followers decided that they also would live in
safety as honest men for the balance of their lives. But in the spring of 1822,
when the band started gathering together to divide their riches which were
hidden in six different places, Gasparilla sighted what appeared a merchantman
just off the coast of Boca Grande. Hurriedly the men held conference. Should
they let it pass? The temptation was too great and greedily Gasparilla and his
men decided to add one more victim before they gave up their career of piracy.

Closely following the shoreline of the Gulf, the Gasparilla II slipped
into Charlotte Harbor, passed through the body of water now known as Little
Gasparilla Pass. There was excitement among the crew which was divided
into two groups. One group of 35 was under a leader, often reported as being
Jean Lafitte, the famed New Orleans pirate. Another group of 35 was led by
Gasparilla himself. Ten men had been left to guard the island.

At about four o'clock that afternoon, the buccaneers dashed
through Boca Grande pass and sped toward the English ship. They
were almost upon it, when the ship lowered the English flag and