Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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JOHNSON, Daniel, English buccaneer, born in Bristol, England, in 1629; died in Panama in 1675. He served for several years as a sailor in a merchant ship which was captured by the Spanish in 1654, and was transported to Santo Domingo, remaining a slave there till 1657, when he escaped to the French island of Tortugas. He swore to revenge himself for the cruel treatment he had received at the hands of the Spaniards, and he kept his word so well that he was named by the Spanish "Johnson the Terror." he enlisted in 1657 under the buccaneer Moyse Van Vin, and soon was raised to the rank of a chief. Van Vin made him his lieutenant in 1659; but they had difficulties about booty, and fought a duel, in which Van Vin was dangerously wounded. Johnson then joined Pierre le Picard, and together they accompanied Sir Henry Morgan in 1661 in his expedition to Maracaibo and Panama. In 1663 he pillaged and ran-sacked the Bay of Honduras, and burned the city of Puerto Cabello, securing booty worth $1,500.000. In the following year, with a brig carrying 24 guns, he attacked a ship that the Spanish authorities of Guatemala sent every year to Spain loaded with gold. Although she was a vessel of 900 tons, carrying 56 guns, with a complement of 400 men, she surrendered to Johnson after a battle of one hour. This capture made Johnson famous, and the Spaniards offered a reward of $25,000 for his head. In 1666 he associated with other adventurers, and ransacked and pillaged the coast of Venezuela. On returning to Tortugas the vessel of Johnson foundered at sea near the western coast of Cuba, and he escaped with a few companions in an open boat. The governor of Havana, being informed of his misfortune, sent a brig carrying 15 guns to capture him, but Johnson attacked the vessel, and after a hard-fought battle took possession of her. As his crew was too small to guard 200 Spanish prisoners, he murdered them with his own hand and sent their heads to the governor. At last he was surrounded by four men-of-war that had been specially detailed for his pursuit, and he fell a prisoner, after receiving 17 wounds. He was brought to Panama and put in charge of physicians, and when they had restored him to health he was hanged in the public square of the city.
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