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The French Corsairs

Theodore’s corsairs’ exploits were recounted in the French book ‘Histoire universelle, depuis le commencement du monde jusqu’à présent, Volume 69’ (Universal history, from the beginning of the world until now, Volume 69). The volume documents the history of the island of Malta.

1665. The following year, the Order (1) sold the island of St. Christophe & the other neighbouring islands to a Company of French Merchants, who established themselves there under the King’s protection, The fleet sailed all that year in the seas of the Archipelago, without meeting any Turkish vessels & without making any important encounters.  But two young Knights were significant in the seas of the Levant. One, called de Crainville, served on a vessel of forty guns, called the Garden of Holland, that had taken over the previous year, an Algerian Corsair, though it was only a frigate of twenty-two guns; another Knight, who was called Temericourt, served on the same frigate. In the channel of the island of Samos, they met a fleet that was going from Alexandria to Constantinople, composed of ten vessels and twelve caiques. They pushed themselves first into the middle of this small fleet, sinking some of the ships, taking four of the richest with two small ships, & targeting the rest afterwards.

The same year, the Knight d’Hoquincourt distinguished himself in an extraordinary way. He was in the port of the island of Dauphine, where he found himself invaded by thirty-three galleys of the Grand-Seigneur (2), which carried the troops of the island of Candie (3). The Turkish Admiral landed what were the best musketeers who fired continually at the Maltese ship, at the same time as the Turkish galleys fired their their artillery. The infidels, after having cut to pieces the movement of the ship advanced to board her. The Knight, as if he were invulnerable, surrounded on all sides, although he had lost many soldiers, he drove into the sea many of the Turks that came on board. The Turkish General, shamed by such a long resistance, ordered his galleys to open their ranks to allow passage for his ship. At the same time he ordered his captain to use all possible force, not doubting that the violence of the act would blow to pieces d’Hoquincourt’s ship, already badly damaged; but the effort he made happily threw the ship out of the harbour, & a favourable wind rose up, the Knight won the first Christian port, after having sunk several galleys & killed more than six hundred of the Turkish men. This illustrious Knight, in the same campaign, & serving on the same ship, was wrecked near the island of Scarpantz (4), and perished with seventy men.


  1. The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, or, the Knights of Malta
  2. The Turkish Sultan
  3. Crete
  4. Karpathos