Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HORN, Van de or Van, buccaneer, born in Holland about 1635; died near Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1683. He was engaged in the Dutch merchant service from about 1655 till 1659, and then bought a vessel with his savings, and with a band of reckless men, whom he had enlisted, became a terror to the commerce of the Netherlands. He afterward had several ships in his employment, and obtained such notoriety that some civilized governments were willing to employ him against their enemies. In 1666 a French minister sent him a commission empowering him to pursue and capture Spanish vessels, and, as he was uniformly successful, he amassed enormous sums. After the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, it was expected that he would cease ravaging the American coast, but the French government, while openly disowning their champion, secretly connived at his misdeeds. He made the mistake of pillaging a French ship, but, after an unsuccessful attempt to take him had been made in 1663, he no longer attacked the French flag. Learning that several Spanish galleons were waiting in the harbor of Porto Rico for a convoy, he entered the harbor and offered his services to the governor. He put forward his recent quarrel with the French, and declared that his only chance of safety was in the protection of the king of Spain. The governor allowed the galleons to leave port under the protection of Horn, but, as soon as they were outside of the Antilles, they were attacked by the flotilla of the buccaneer, who gained over 2,000,000 livres by the adventure. Horn was engaged with De Graft and other buccaneer chiefs in the capture of Vera Cruz in 1683. The division of the spoil caused a duel between Horn and De Graft, which was fought on the shores of the bay of San Sacrifield, five or six miles from Vera Cruz. Horn was dangerously wounded in the arm, and, after he had returned to his ship, the extreme heat, combined with the absence of surgical aid and his passion for drink, soon ended his life.
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