The Earl of EGLINTON.
I am your Lordship's very humble and obliged Servant,
(Note that in my book Blackbeard Reconsidered, I had erroneously written that A History of Jamaica was composed of the letters of Admiral Edward Vernon. This was due to the misleading arrangement on the title page of the 1740 edition. The title page shown above is the 1739 first edition and, as you can see, it mentions no author. For a perfectionist like myself, this is embarrassing. I apologize to all my readers. Rest assured that it does nothing to change the validity of the argument. Thank you to a fellow researcher who recently pointed this out to me. Without such mutual support, we would all stray! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.)
|St. Johns Parish Church, Barbados|
SIR, A Good Ship and easy Gales have at last brought me to this Part of the New World: New indeed in regard of ours, for here I find every thing altered; and, amidst all the Variety which crowds upon my Sight, scarce see a Face that resembles the gay Bloom of a Britain. The People seem all sickly, their Complection is muddy , their Colour wan, and their Bodies meagre; they look like so many Corpses, and their Dress resembles a Shroud; however, they are frank and good-humour'd, and make the best of Life they can. If Death is more busy in this Place than in many others, his Approach is no where received with a greater Unconcernedness: They live well, enjoy their Friend, drink heartily, make Money, and are quite careless of Futurity. But I'll take another Opportunity to draw their Character, when Time shall encrease my Knowledge, and my Acquaintance with them becomes more general.
With such Thoughts was my mind agitated, when Port-Royal offered itself to our View. Here we cast Anchor, and went ashore. At this Point is Fort-Charles, which guards the Inlet to the Harbour or Bay, and is one of the best Fortifications in America. We got a Boat and made for Kingston, at the Distance of about five Miles; one can't get at it by Land from Port-Royal, without taking a Compass of upwards of Fifteen Miles,and that too is a very dangerous Way.
Kingston is a fine Town, well situated and large; here the most considerable Merchants reside, which makes it a Place of vast Trade; 'tis here likewise the Ships load and unload, and you'll never see less than Two or Three hundred Vessels in the Bay before it.
As we had a great many Servants on board, and some of them fine Tradesmen, we had soon a Number of the Planters who came to purchase Indentures [not slaves]. It was affecting to see the Shoal Of Buyers, and how the poor Fellows were made to pass in Review before their future Tyrants, who looked at them, and examined them, as if they had been so many Horses. Each chose whom he liked best; a good Tradesman went of at about Forty Pound, and others at Twenty Pound per Head; they had lived so easily and well during the Voyage, that they looked healthful, clean and fresh, and for this Reason were soon sold. While another Vessel, from the same Port brought in, a little after, a Multitude of poor starved Creatures, that seemed like so many Skeletons: misery appeared in their Looks, and one might read the Effects of Sea-tyranny by their wild and dejected Countenances. 'Tis horrid to relate the Barbarities they complained of: A word or a wrong Look was construed a Design to mutiny ; and Hunger, Handcuffs, and a Cat o' nine Tails, was immediately the Punishment.
But I must acquaint you 'tis only aboard of a few Vessels where such Cruelties are practiced. The Generality of Captains are too good and too generous, to be guilty of such Baseness; they have Juster Notions of Honour than to torture the Helpless, or make the miserable more unhappy. The Servants have a Right to good Usage; their Masters pay their Passage; why should they by them be maltreated; because they have obliged themselves (by Contract) to serve a limited number of years?
I shall continue from Time to Time to acquaint you with what I look upon as curious and endeavour at Truth and Exactness in all I relate.
Combined with the genealogical records showing the only Thache family to ever live on Jamaica, who lived in Spanish Town, this still establishes the Jamaican Thache family as Blackbeard's with little reservation. This can barely be a coincidence, with fourteen parishes from which to chose for Leslie's narrative about Blackbeard. He probably did not just invent this scenario. The "mother" whom Leslie encountered, perhaps on the streets of town or in church, would have been the only "mother" that Blackbeard would have had at the time, his step-mother, Lucretia (nee Poquet) Thache. She would die in 1743, having become the matriarch of the Thache family of Spanish Town for over forty years!
Jamaicans of African Descent now carry on the Thache legacy...and her name!
|1746 Christening record for a mixed race Lucretia, daughter of Blackbeard's half-brother, Cox Thache|
|1753 Christening record in St. Catherine's Parish for a slave from the Thache estate.|