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The 600+ ton, 38 gun Scourge of Malice was the 3rd Earl of Cumberland’s (Sir George Clifford) command ship upon which Thomas Alabaster likely sailed.

She was later renamed Red Dragon when Clifford and Alabaster joined the East India Company in 1600.

OK, so he wasn’t exactly like Capt. Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of The Caribbean movie franchise but Thomas was an actual pirate.

A relative, not an ancestor, my maternal 11x great grand uncle Thomas Alabaster (1540-1624) was the eldest son of a well-to-do and influential clothier in Hadleigh, Norfolk, England.

About 1572 he decided that he didn’t want to be the one to take over the family business and he moved to London to seek his own fortune.

He wound up at Hassall's - a trading company doing business with Spain. After achieving his freeman status in 1579, Thomas went into business on his own, again mostly in Spain.

When war broke out between England and Spain in 1585, Thomas was thrown into jail in Seville. Eventually released, he remained in Spain and continued to conduct international trade (illegally) and, some say, to spy for England.

In the late 1590s the war with Spain was still ongoing and Thomas was back in London. Sir George Clifford, the 3rd Earl of Cumberland, with the financial support of the City of London, formed a partnership to outfit an expedition to capture San Juan, Puerto Rico, a Spanish colony in the Caribbean.

Thomas was chosen to be "in charge of the records and accounts of the voyage . . ."

The privateer (they were actually pirates authorized by the Crown) expedition set sail in 1598 lead by George Clifford. There were 20 ships and 1,700 men and they actually did capture San Juan on 15 Jun 1598 and held it for a brief time.

This is the only time Fort San Felipe del Morro castle was ever captured by an invading force. When it became obvious this particular sortie would not be profitable due to resistance of the locals and disease (dysentery), Clifford decided to leave. In August and September they looted and burned the town to the ground then returned home to England.

Thomas continued his privateering, as well as his illegal international trade in goods and information with some success. Yup, he was a pirate, a spy and a smuggler.

On December 31, 1600 Queen Elizabeth I granted a formal Charter to “The Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies” - later known as the East India Company and Thomas was one of the 218 "knights, aldermen and merchants" named in the Charter as a director of this new venture. By 1608 Thomas had retired on his accumulated wealth. He died in London in early June, 1624.