Saturday, September 17, 2016

Nathaniel Mist's Piracy!

Quest for Blackbeard: The True Story of Edward Thache and His World is not your usual pirate history - because it does not accept the narrative developed from the virtual worship of A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates as a valid historical source. In fact, this 300-year-old book, sold as actual history for these many years, is merely historical fiction. "Capt. Charles Johnson" at some times quoted accurately from sources, but at other times, he clearly lied, usually in carefully crafted deceptions - perhaps why the political polemicist Nathaniel Mist used this pseudonym. Still, the book was registered at His Majesty's Stationary Office in London under his real name. He still made profits from it to help with the numerous legal fines he incurred. 

Still, Mist made one fatal error in his deception... 

The literal “smoking gun” of proof for Mist’s intentional fraud in A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates is the deposition of Andrew Turbett and Robert Gilmore in Virginia, 17 April 1717. This document is available to view on my website's "Pirate Library" page. Mist absolutely fabricated a completely false history for pirate Stede Bonnet from a single document that clearly mentioned Samuel Bellamy by name. Mist cannot escape the fact that he clearly knew details from this deposition, and probably possessed a copy of it, while purposely avoiding the actual pirate mentioned in that document as responsible for that piece of the history. He needed this detail to flesh out his character of the "Gentleman" Pirate Stede Bonnet. Mist sacrificed deeds of the virtually unknown Samuel Bellamy to his literary desires and needs. As a result, Bellamy has been nearly forgotten for many years and is still confused today because scholars have refused to ignore Mist's historical fiction and rely strictly upon primary sources.

Not only did this book tell a completely bogus history for what happened to Stede Bonnet's early career, but Mist also fabricated an entirely "notorious" and even "evil" history for others, especially for Edward "Blackbeard" Thache of Spanish Town, Jamaica and especially Blackbeard's time in North Carolina. The point was to diminish the pirates of America (actual conservative heroes to Americans of that time) and even America itself because America was far too unruly in their adherence to Stuart conservatism. They were difficult to control 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. England changed, became more progressive, while America did not. The British government simply tried to bring America back into line with their policy and they used Nathaniel Mist for this purpose.

All of this is difficult for us to accept. This is why Quest for Blackbeard has not evolved over the last two years as your usual pirate history. My narrative offers, as I propose, an actual history of Golden Age Piracy and even alters the presumed history of America itself... in my opinion, a true history that has been hidden for 300 years because of British propaganda used against Americans in 1724! Our first premature Revolution (1715-1718) ended as Rebellion and degenerated into outright lawlessness from 1719-1726. The victors' narrative reigned supreme - it still does -especially for our memories of once-coveted former heroes, even after the American Revolution sixty years later established the independence for us to proceed unimpeded!

The proof for Mist's deception lies on pages 335-336 of Quest for Blackbeard:

As to the missing period of August–October 1717, an entire paragraph of information on Stede Bonnet’s first cruise was related by Johnson-Mist in both editions that includes details not found in any other known source, newspaper account, or official correspondence. This paragraph states:
[H]is first Cruize was off the Capes of Virginia, where he took several Ships, and plundered them of their Provisions, Cloaths, Money, Ammunition, &c. in particular the Anne, Captain Montgomery, from Glascow; the Turbet from Barbadoes, which for Country sake, after they had taken out the principal Part of the Lading, the Pyrate Crew set her on Fire; the Endeavour, Captain Scot, from Bristol, and the Young from Leith. From hence they went to New-York, and off the East End of Long-Island, took a Sloop bound for the West-Indies, after which they stood in and landed some Men at Gardner’s Island, but in a peaceable Manner, and bought Provisions for the Company’s Use, which they paid for, and so went off again without Molestation.
These are detailed references, but all were likely fabricated or misreported. Neither the Turbet of Barbados, Endeavor of Bristol, nor Young from Leith can be exactly identified. “The Agnis,” however, with a master Capt. Andrew Turbett (who was probably not set on fire), “was taken and sunk by a pirate [not mentioned by Johnson-Mist], Saml. Bellamy, five leagues off Cape Charles, 7th April [1717].”  “On the same day,” as Lt. Gov. Spotswood’s packet to the Board relates, “they took the Anne galley of Glasgow and the Endeavor pink of Brighthelmstone [master John Scott], and on the 12th a ship belonging to Lieth [Leith; a ship whose master was Capt. Young], all bound for Virginia.”  These vessels had all been captured by Bellamy, April 7-12, then annoying Virginia – not Stede Bonnet and not in August as Johnson-Mist alleged. 

The actual record containing this information found in Johnson-Mist’s confusing passage on Stede Bonnet were the depositions of Andrew Turbett and Robert Gilmor, master and supercargo of Agnis, John Lewis and Joseph Jacob, master and mate of Tryal. They clearly indicate that the pirate who molestated these vessels off Virginia was Samuel Bellamy. These particular vessels captured by Samuel Bellamy in the Whydah, are attributed to Stede Bonnet only by A General History or references to this book or its many editions.

There is no proof that Bonnet traveled further north than Charles Town, South Carolina, on his initial cruise. Mist might have confused or used an early false history for Bonnet when he first wrote the book and published it in May 1724, but he continued the deception in December. Some pirate historians have accepted this information without questioning it, but most avoid writing of these questionable events, even while still trusting upon A General History as a “reliable” historical source.



"Quest for Blackbeard" has finally been approved for Global Distribution which means that it will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Alibris, and other online booksellers very soon. Look for it to appear on my Author's Amazon site.

It is already previewable on Google Books.

I will also send a free "Genealogy of Blackbeard" family chart (5x7 postcard) to the first ten people to review the book on the Amazon site or on my Lulu site at:

Simply leave the review and then email me with your name and mailing address. It will not be seen by anyone else and you will not be included in any databases.

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