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Friday, January 29, 2016

Blackbeard's Daughter: Elizabeth Thache Barham of Spanish Town, Jamaica

Historian Richard S. Dunn, in A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia, wrote:
When the owner of Mesopotamia [plantation in Jamaica], Ephraim Stephenson, died in 1726, he had no living children and willed all of his property to his widow, Mary. This lady needed a husband in order to operate Mesopotamia, and by August 1727 she had married a man named Heith. When Heith also died, Mary took a third husband in early 1728, a Jamaica physician named Dr. Henry Barham. Barham was the son of a naturalist also named Henry Barham who was an intellectual of some note. The elder Barham wrote a treatise about Jamaican flora and fauna, corresponded with Sir Hans Sloane, and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1717.
 Later, in England, as Dunn wrote:
Dr. Henry Barham retired permanently to England [in April 1736], leaving the management of his Jamaican property to his medical colleague Dr. James Paterson. As soon as he reached England, Barham married again, this time to a wealthy widow he had known in Jamaica named Elizabeth Smith Foster Ayscough. This lady had a large family by her first husband, John Foster, who died in 1731 leaving five Jamaica sugar plantations staffed by 768 slaves, valued at L33,958. Her second husband, another Jamaica planter named John Ayscough, died in 1735 or 1736.
Dunn wrote A Tale of Two Plantations to study the individual lives and collective experiences of some 2,000 slaves on the Mesopotamia sugar estate in western Jamaica and Mount Airy Plantation in tidewater Virginia. He studied Jamaican records intensely for this story. Still, he missed an earlier marriage record for Dr. Henry Barham found in the Jamaican Anglican Church records. 

Admittedly, this record has little connection to Dunn's purposes in A Tale of Two Plantations. Still, it has a great deal to do with pirate history - specifically, the history of Edward "Blackbeard" Thache. It also explains the great financial possibilities of the only Thache family to ever live on Jamaica: the family of Blackbeard's father, Capt. Edward Thache of St. Jago de la Vega or Spanish Town, the eighteenth-century capital of the island.

Marriage record for Dr. Henry "Barram" to Elizabeth "Theach" in St. Catherine's Parish, Jamaica - April 19, 1720

Memorial stone for Joseph Jordan and his sister Jane Jordan Barham (b. 1693, d. May 27, 1717) in St. Catherines Cathedral.
Bottom of stone above.

Henry and Alice Barham, the parents of young Dr. Barham, also lived in Spanish Town. The above record shows that Dr. Henry "Barram" or Barham, born about 1692 (28 years of age at the time of this marriage), married Elizabeth "Theach" or Thache in that same parish (she was his second wife: Jane Jordan Barham had died May 27, 1717). Undoubtedly, Barham, as any English gentleman of his day, had hoped to increase his land holdings and wealth by marrying Elizabeth, as he had later with his third and fourth wives: Mary Stephenson Heith and Elizabeth Foster Ayscough, as told by Dunn. [For the numerous spellings of Thache, see "Getting Blackbeard's Name Right?"]

Elizabeth Thache Barham was born most likely 1700-1705. Edward Thache Jr., the only male Thache in Jamaica old enough to have been her father, probably did not live in Spanish Town at that time. Little is known about his life until 10 December 1706, when he deeded his father's inheritance to his step-mother, Lucretia and the children by her: Thomas and Rachel Thache. Presumably, Lucretia's eldest child, Cox was aptly provided for by his namesake, Assemblyman Thomas Cox of Spanish Town.  

Argument for Elizabeth as Edward Jr's daughter: A deed in March 1706 from Dr. Thomas Stuart indicates, a young Elizabeth Thache was living with Capt. Edward and Lucretia Thache just before the elder Capt. Edward died. Why was this Elizabeth living with Lucretia and her husband and being referred to as one of her children? Her son Thomas was her youngest child, born in November of the previous year, just months before Elizabeth appears. Also, Capt. Edward Thache already had a daughter named Elizabeth from his previous marriage and probably would not name another daughter the same; this Elizabeth married Huguenot merchant John Valescure. Dr. Stuart deeded a slave "Sabina" to care for the Thache children, including Elizabeth. She appears as a child of comparable status and age to Rachel and Thomas. She is probably much younger and the right age to later marry Dr. Henry Barham as his first wife. This Elizabeth is probably not the older Elizabeth, Blackbeard's sister and the younger Elizabeth's aunt.

Edward Thache Jr. probably plied the local Caribbean waters as a mariner, like his father before him and his half-brother Thomas after 1725-30. The town of Kingston, recently made a port to replace the earthquake and fire-destroyed Port Royal, across the bay, may have attracted Edward's maritime interests, as it did the family of "notorious" pirate Thomas Barrow. Barrow's father of the same name served Jamaica for twenty-five years as the Attorney-General - interestingly, many of those years as a blind man who eventually died in 1725.

Young Edward may have married while in Kingston and had a daughter. The marriage and birth would, unfortunately, not have been recorded because the Anglican church in that new parish did not begin recording such events until 1722. It could not be recorded in Port Royal, either. Port Royal's church, St. Peters, fell into the bay in the earthquake of 1692. It also did not restart recording such events until 1725. 

As Kingston was considered a "unhealthful sickly place," even worse than the rest of the Caribbean island, Thache's wife may have become ill and passed away. Or, as childbirth in the eighteenth century was hazardous for women, she may have died upon giving birth to Elizabeth. [For the Kingston mix-raced children of Cox Thache, see: "Jane Teach, 'Free Negro Woman' of Kingston, Jamaica"]

Owing to his itinerant life as a mariner, and certainly because of joining the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Windsor, Edward Thache knew that he would not be able to care for Elizabeth and asked his parents to help. This may also have been a further inducement for him to deed his inheritance back to his family - to provide for his daughter in his absence.

Presumably, as Barham's marriage to Elizabeth Thache later indicates, Edward's inheritance should have been substantial. Owing to primogeniture, or the practice of the eldest son inheriting the bulk of his father's estate, Edward received the whole plantation, with the slaves, after his father's death in November 1706. Thus, he deeded it back to his family and it became an attractive investment for Dr. Barham is 1720, eager to build his estates and fortune. 

Queen Anne's War provided Thache with military experience, knowledge, and tactics. Still, it also negatively changed the narrative of Edward Thache's life. Having been a mariner and a Royal Navy veteran of the war, he likely disagreed strongly with the change in government at the end of that war in 1714. The death of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne, and the succession of King George I, a German protestant from the Duchy of Hanover-Lunenburg - a new king of Britain who spoke no English - was a travesty that likely violated Thache's sense of patriotism. He turned rebel, like many did in the later American Revolution - a Jacobite to protest Parliament's perceived treason by ousting James III or the "Pretender," as he was later styled. But, Thache also turned rogue mariner when eleven heavily-laden treasure galleons wrecked on the Florida shore in the hurricane of July 30, 1715. The treasure-lust was too great for any mariner to ignore, at 14,000,000 pesos worth of silver alone! Many landed and wealthy gentlemen fished those wrecks, like Henry Jennings of Jamaica and Bermuda, Richard Tookerman of South Carolina, Peter Parr of Jamaica, and fellow Kingston resident, son of Assemblyman and Attorney-General Thomas Barrow.

Thache probably fished those wrecks. His first appearance as a pirate was with Bahamian pirate Benjamin Hornigold in the deposition of Henry Timberlake, taken on December 17, 1716. This dated well over a year following the hurricane. Thache's miltary experience made him successful in his mini-rebellion. He became the primary focus of Capt. Charles Johnson, or Jacobite newspaperman, Nathaniel Mist in A General History of the Pyrates. The rest is history - right up until his death in Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina on November 22, 1718. 

The now "notorious" Blackbeard, formerly the landed gentleman Edward Thache, missed his daughter's wedding two years later. Then again, he also missed her sudden demise, reflecting her own mother's death in the tropical and disease-ridden heat of the Jamaican climate - the climate so well described by Richard S. Dunn's social treatment of slavery and slave agency in A Tale of Two Plantations. Mary Stephenson Heith married Elizabeth Thache Barham's widowed husband by 1728 and brought the great wealth and slaves of the Jamaican plantation Mesoptamia into his growing portfolio. 

If not for Elizabeth Thache Barham's early death, the daughter of Blackbeard the Pirate may have later sailed to England with her husband. They may have resided together, as Dr. Barham did with Elizabeth Foster Ayscough Barham, in Grovesnor Square in London, mistress of great estates there and in Jamaica. She would have been a neighbor to the Marquis of Rockingham, Northern Secretary of State Charles Townsend, Lord North, Alderman & Chamberlain of the City of London John Wilkes, and King George I's own mistress, the Dutchess of Kendall!

 Three years before Dr. Henry Barham died in 1746, he possessed sixty-five separate apartments, estates, and other rentals in the 1743 property tax listings while living on Grovesnor Street - he also was a neighbor of and equally as wealthy as James Vernon Esq., the brother of Admiral Edward Vernon, the Royal Navy's former commander of their forces in Jamaica. 

Fate sometimes takes a fickle and unpredictable path, doesn't it?

Grovesnor Square: Built between 1725-1731 at the center of the Grosvenor estate. It is the 2nd largest Square in London. The average cost of homes originally built there was the amazing sum of 7,500 pounds--at a time when a time when a farm laborer received less than 40 pence, there are 240 pence per pound, per day during the high demand harvest season. Naturally the majority of the original residents were titled. The area came to be called Little America because John Quincy Adams lived there while he was the American ambassador to Britian.


 Read more about the family of Edward "Blackbeard" Thache in Blackbeard Reconsidered: Mist's Piracy, Thache's Genealogy

Visit for news about Quest for Blackbeard and stories on pirates and their families and friends in the Pirate Library!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

A New and Exact Account of Jamaica in 1739

The Earl of EGLINTON.


WHILE Your early Studies are under the best Direction, allow me to present a Piece, which may help to give You a distinct Idea of one of the finest of the British Colonies. 

As I endeavour to represent Things fairly, and with that candid Justness, which becomes one that writes to the World; so, My LORD, You will see, in the following Sheets, that Slavery is the Ruin of Society, and that Oppression is still attended with fatal Inconveniencies, even to the Tyrant, You will see some distinguish'd Intances of natural Courage, and admire the Fortune and the Fate of a Morgan You will see, by what Laws Your distant Countrymen are govern'd, how happy they might be, and how much they deserve to be encouraged. 
I might here take an Opportunity, to inform the World of Your LORDSHIP'S happy Genius, agreeable Turn and natural Sweetness of Temper; but Your LORDSHIP's Commands restrain me, Neither is it indeed necessary to tell, that the SON of the COUNTESS of EGLINTON is a fine young Nobleman.

I am your Lordship's very humble and obliged Servant,


Thus began Charles Leslie's New and Exact Account of Jamaica, published in 1739 in his grandfather's native Scotland. This book was retitled A History of Jamaica in the 1740 edition and the acknowledgement to Lord Eglinton had been removed. This book also contains a very important reference in it to Blackbeard that confirms that Edward Thache Jr. of Spanish Town, Jamaica (explained in deed records of his service on HMS Windsor) is indeed the infamous pirate!  

(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 if you have any questions.)

St. Johns Parish Church, Barbados
Rev. William and Ann Leslie left Scotland to serve as the First Rector (1653 - 1676) of St John’s Parish Church, ministering to the Parish for 23 years. This church still stands today and is still in use. The Leslies are buried in the cemetery beside it

William died 13 November 1674, many years before Ann in 1692. According to his memorial, he was the "Grandson of Fifth Laird of Kincraigie and Great Great Grandson by his Grandmother of JOHN LESLIE Eighth Baron of Balquhain." William and Ann had children: Margery, Rebecca, Isabella, Col. John and Charles Leslie.

The famed author Charles Leslie is the son of one of these two men. On 20 July 1710, he married Rebecca Innes (Ince). Sometime later, probably after 1720 or so, Leslie journeyed to the island of Jamaica, where he explored the geography and history of the island and may have met the Thache family. 

The description that he gives of this journey and his stay and experiences in Jamaica nicely detail the entire island and its society, as he said, giving it the first historical treatment ever written. 


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.

This favoured us so much, that on the seventh Day after we left St. Christopher's, we got within Sight of Jamaica. At a little Distance, this Island makes a grand Appearance ; the high-rising Mountains ever green, and cover'd with Wood, and the little Plantations on their Sides, and in the Vallies below, furnish a Prospect which is awful, and yet gives Delight. We gently sailed along the Shore, never wearied with gazing on what was now to be our Country and our Home ; and I could not help a Crowd of thoughts, which on this Occasion, pressed too fast upon me; sometimes, with Sighs, I remembered the happy Climates, and the dear Acquaintance I had left behind. Britannia rose to my View all-gay, with native Freedom blest, the Seat of Arts, and the Nurse of Learning, and Friend of every Virtue; where the meanest Swain, with quiet Ease, possesses the Fruits of his hard Toil, without Disturbance ; while I was now to settle in a Place not half inhabited, cursed with intestine Broils, where Slavery was established, and the poor toiling Wretches worked in the sultry Heat, and never knew the Sweets of Liberty, or reap'd the Advantage of their painful Industry, in a Place, which except the Verdure of its Fields, had nothing to recommend it.

Port Royal

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. 


Charles Leslie was a man who may have lived on Jamaica long enough to write these letters and study the island's geography and history, natural and otherwise. He commented in his ninth letter that “Black-beard… was born in Jamaica, of very creditable parents.” He elaborated further that “his Mother is alive in Spanish-Town to this Day, and his Brother is at present Captain of the Train of Artillery.” 

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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

America is Xenophobic? Why?

George I of Hanover - "Really, I'm a nice guy! I just don't speak your language, but I can still rule over you!"
With all the anti-immigrant rhetoric today, we get the feeling that Americans are somewhat xenophobic... well, a lot xenophobic. This truly ironic characteristic may be an historically conservative trend...

Here's why: imagine this was 1 August 1714 and a new king had been crowned as ruler of the British Empire!! Only, he was NOT born in England and he did NOT even speak English!!!

He didn't even come from Scotland like the Stuarts - who founded Carolina by the way...

No, George I was previously ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698. He was German. He spoke ONLY German. But... he was Protestant! That was the only plus, of course. Parliament had wholly unseated those Catholic-loving Stuarts, casting James III (or the "Pretender," a not-so-nice derogatory reference chosen undoubtedly by friends of Parliament) to France. Conservatives absolutely demanded that James III be restored to his rightful throne and the Whigs (liberals) run out of office! Jacobite (James III) Rebellions (like the one in 1715 - at the high point of pirate activity in America) were always a strong possibility...

For wholly conservative and xenophobic pirates in America, George I was an unthinkable abomination! He was the 18th-century English version of a black American president! Popish plots were everywhere! Conservatives' blood boiled, like Edward "Blackbeard" Thache for one... who named his flagship Queen Anne's Revenge to honor the last Stuart monarch that he had served in the Royal Navy to defend...

Edward "Blackbeard" Thache wanted to fight back... even if only a little... he was just a half-century too early. That's all!

America developed fundamentally from this ideology and fear of change - but, then, it also changed in significant ways after it had decided to part from the British Empire. Yes, we have a split personality problem. Still, a great many of us remained conservative to the core... and xenophobia naturally goes with that. It's our ancestry!

America was founded by conservative pirates! 
Read their history in Pirates & Slaves: Making America

#Blackbeard #BaylusBrooks #pirates #jamaica #ncdncr

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Really! Pirates and Tea Party Conservatism

Yes! There's a connection - and recognizing this connection has been a long time coming, I think. It has split America from England and even itself - we have been a divided union ever since wet ink pooled on the Constitution...

An argument made in Pirates & Slaves: Making America is that America’s unique drive toward private, free market capitalism and absolute freedom, bolstered by a vengeful God, derives from piracy. The official image of "piracy" was trashed to hide it. Still, it naturally follows - all nations once condoned piracy in the Americas and the “Wild West” Indies atmosphere set the standard for American behavior, including its most basic economic conduct. 

The current system of economics in our country has ingrained itself in our society so deeply and for so long as to seem almost natural, even necessary. But, take a step back... West Indian piracy’s ideological development in the Caribbean, cast from the molds of early pirates like Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins, gave birth to this unique American ideology. After its transfer to mainland Carolina in 1671 and later diffusion to the young United States, it was also inevitable that a unique American capitalism would develop with its accompanying assurances that humans were naturally greedy and a focus of profit over any other consideration.

Historian Mark G. Hanna asserted that “many of the most notorious pirates” settled in America as “respected members of the local gentry.”

Capitalism and West Indian piracy were both born of the same western mother Europe. Like capitalism, piracy is a departure from our basic nurturing human instincts – unnatural and synthetic - a business, with expenses, income, buyers, sellers, supply and demand. Piracy or theft was a particular favorite of the old Stuart monarchs, Charles I and Charles II; the last Stuart, Queen Anne, died in 1713. Upon the accession of the Hanoverian king, George I, liberals ascended to power and tried to eradicate piracy. Supporters of the old, conservative regime, or Jacobites, attempted to overthrow the foreign, German Hanoverian line. "Pirate king" Edward "Blackbeard" Thache's Queen Anne's Revenge or pirate Stede Bonnet's Royal James were not named by accident.

“The swashbuckling activities of deep-sea pirates,” historian Mark G. Hanna writes, “were integral to the political and social development of the colonial maritime communities that depended upon these adventurers' goods and services.”  

An emerging America, 3,000 miles away, merely pirated piracy away from its distant and negligent mother and secured the benefits for themselves, while the mother sought liberal reform back home. America and England ideologically split - essentially over piracy. Americans then rebranded and refined their piratical practice on land after the turn of the eighteenth century, styled simply as “capitalism.” The final break came only fifty years later, in 1776. After that, pirates were finally free.

Destroying the Evidence:

"The image of Blackbeard as a cruel and ruthless villain was largely created by newspaper accounts and A General History of the Pyrates, first published in 1724. This book has been plundered by generations of historians, despite the fact that it is riddled with errors, exaggerations, and misunderstandings." -- Arne Bialuschewski, "Jacobite Pirates?"

As one might suspect before the British government's political misdirection, pirates have not always been viewed as "notorious criminals" or "enemies of all mankind." They were once seen as vital to the seventeenth-century English economy. In the eighteenth century, however, the paradigm changed and pirates were reviled by the mother while the offspring, America, brutally enhanced the rough and ready economic narrative into unregulated “laissez faire.” Americans, especially conservatives, preserved piracy in a slightly modified form. Still, the masses of capitalism's workers would eventually feel the strain...

Late 19th century novelist Robert Louis Stevenson noted his novel Treasure Island as a wry commentary on the "ambiguity of morality"—as seen in pirate Long John Silver—unusual for children's literature - "prevalent themes of Stevenson’s prose: duality of one’s character, internal struggle against social pressure, assumed respectability and criticism of oppressive policies." 

Self-styled “Explorer and Treasure-seeker” Harold T. Wilkins, writing for the American Weekly in 1940, offered a raucous interpretation of Blackbeard’s sexual prowess and scandalous behavior. Still, his description was less than flattering. “Gradually women,” he wrote, “scum of the waterfronts came and the shores became hells of unbridled revel.” Wilkins appeared to hold a customary scriptural view, blaming women for an evil influence upon men, perhaps with allusions toward the Biblical Genesis. 

Consider this reaction from South Carolinians: On June 24, 2009, Republican governor of South Carolina Marshall Clement "Mark" Sanford publicly revealed that he had engaged in an affair with María Belén Chapur, an Argentine woman. While it led to censure by the South Carolina General Assembly and his resignation as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, it did not result in Sanford's actual resignation from the governorship. After his term, Sanford formally launched his bid for Congress in early 2013. He quickly became a front-runner in a crowded field of 16 Republican candidates and won!

Modern popularity of the "notorious" Blackbeard began late in the 19th century... "The Industrial Revolution was also a demographic revolution with consequences in urbanization as it accelerated the emigration of the population from country to city and the result was the development of horrifying slums and cramped row housing [results of capitalism] in the overcrowded cities. It was in this century that literature saw its importance growing rapidly" - an illusory rhetorical salve for the victims of capitalism.

Why are memes such as this one becoming ever more popular at a time when inequality is even more pronounced than ever? The "real" criminals are usually seen as the ones who lord power over others... like the Robber Barons of our late 19th century - the wealthy purveyors of anti-democracy who created the Great Depression with their economic abuses. Discovering that Blackbeard himself was not poor, but one of this same wealthy war-like class, exposes them a little more. We intuitively see capitalists as pirates or criminals... and they are identical in anti-social ideology.

Blackbeard is really not a "notorious" and "filthy" pirate after all -  he's actually one of our capitalist heroes - a war veteran and grandson of an Anglican minister - and possibly the leader of a failed revolution!

Blackbeard's wealthy family!? You have to be kidding me, right?

Still, we could not just admit to ourselves that we kept actual piracy as an institution – especially later, as our children began to see themselves as more civilized and Godly. We had to demonize the "idea" of piracy, while elevating capitalism to virtual divinity. We now worship the acquisition of wealth above all else - truly, that is piracy.

Although we heavily depend upon it, American capitalism and its unruly pet of chattel slavery truly embarrassed us. Therefore, we further suppressed this prickly relationship - again, with God's help - essentially giving America a split personality disorder, reflected by the hostile and extreme two-party political system that we have today.  It created the Civil War and what we know today as the "Tea Party." This is the slavery-supporting old-testament-style of God's vengeance... against the enemies of wealth acquisition...

America's "Deep South" - A "Christian Nation"

How did God do this? Why did he decree America (at least half of it) as his favorite capitalist creation? Well, it was necessary for our sanity! The seed of the godly rhetorical salve was devised at almost the same moment as the Golden Age and transferred to the mainland through Carolina to be dispersed throughout the Deep South and, eventually, all of America. See: Colin Woodard's American Nations.

The ideology of piracy and theft had its affects... the Carolina grants of 1663-1665, West Indian immigration to America in 1671, and the development of the Deep South - the entry of slavery into America!
The popular disturbances that followed Dr. Henry Sacheverell’s religious and passionate preaching in 1709 and prosecution of Whigs for “High Church” views in England created the unusual election of 1710, the “most riotous election campaign of the period.”  This popular revolt firmly paired Jacobitism, rioting, piracy, and a personal God against the established government. It spread throughout an empire, already suffering from class division, into the West Indies, then ripe for revolution, partly resulting in the heavily Jacobite Golden Age of Piracy. Once independent, the United States made such Godly piracy its own. Yes, the American Revolution almost began 60 years before 1776!

It certainly helped today’s pirates to ensure that we were simply made that way – by God, unchangeable and everlasting. Appealing to the old testament biblical notion of an inherently greedy human nature has become the only unquestionable support for private control of production and consumption, or free-market capitalism. God owned the stock exchange and, boy, did he hate history in high school!

Yes... we do this to ourselves to ignore our brutal past and cultural responsibility.
Still, I can assure you that we are not an inherently greedy species. This solitary religious justification fails.  American conservative politics, though, desperately keeps that rhetorical fuel for capitalism alive with vehement nationalistic support. Sinclair Lewis symbolized that rhetoric in regards to returning right-wing fascism as "wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." 

Manifest Destiny... God's imperialist decree!

American Progress, an 1872 painting by John Gast is an allegorical representation of the modernization of the new west. Here Columbia, an angelic personification of the United States, leads civilization westward with American settlers. She brings light from the East into the darkness or evil of the West (progress must always be profitable), stringing telegraph wire and the railroad as she sweeps westward. The different stages of economic activity of the pioneers are highlighted and, especially, the evolving forms of transportation - progress as a function of capitalism that destroyed entire nations of aboriginal peoples in the process.

We simply could not admit this to ourselves - we doubted our own intelligence and hid behind our "omniscient," yet cruel Levitican deity!  God had a purpose! He would make it all right... ironically, though, his "children" died by the millions.

Our basic conservative ideology is parasitic... not human nature! Our founding fathers were very wrong - early Americans were wrong. WE are wrong! Humans are NOT inherently greedy! The Bill of Rights is the only thread of decency keeping us from drowning in conservatism.

Biology Professor S. A. Barnett’s book Biology and Freedom: An Essay on the Implications of Human Ethology demonstrates that modern ethology, experimental psychology, genetics and evolutionary theory destroy the notion that humans are predominantly and unavoidably violent, grasping, selfish and stupid. We do, indeed, have redeeming innate factors. We also should not be selfish with this perception, for other animals generally regarded as lower on the evolutionary scale demonstrate similar characteristics as well. 

Continuous conservative rhetoric against “the pirate,” per se, deflated the necessity of the old English reform arguments and were cultivated in America to hide the natural relationship to capitalism - our greed. We debased our own natures and denied our own teachers - the pirates of old in the “Golden Age” like Blackbeard. Capt. Charles Johnson (aka Nathaniel Mist)'s A General History of the Pirates started the revision process - we finished it. 

This is Mist's Piracy... he masked the true capitalist Blackbeard... and stunted our emotional growth!

Edward Thache, the real educated military man, landed gentleman, and successful businessman had to die while the notorious “Blackbeard the Pirate” character remained, cast in a smoking cloak of perpetual evil simply to emotionally support the newer economic narrative: “Thou shalt not steal… without a proper license.” 

We now have proof of "Mist's Piracy" in Blackbeard Reconsidered...

This type of historical revisionism was an ideological argument similar to Sen. Jim Inhofe's use of a snowball on the floor of Congress to deny a very real climate change... nothing personal there, Edward Thache might say – just business.

"Once you establish that Blackbeard was not the evil and notorious man that he has been made out to be, that he was diminished by early British authorities... and that early America loved its pirates and their way of life, it is only one more step to conclude that America owes something of its basic conservative ideology to Golden Age Piracy."


Blackbeard Reconsidered: Mist's Piracy, Thache's Genealogy on

Today's popular image of the pirate Blackbeard as a bloodthirsty criminal, "a Devil incarnate," has its origins in Nathaniel Mist's A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates (1724). Mist's narrative only accounts for the last two years of Blackbeard's life, yet subsequent historians and scholars accepted and promoted this colorful but unsubstantiated image for three centuries. In Blackbeard Reconsidered, historian Baylus Brooks examines the myth of Blackbeard in the light of official government records in Jamaica and Church of England records. This new evidence allows Brooks to present the immediate lineage of Edward Thache, a respected resident of Spanish Town, Jamaica, and to place the gentleman's actions within an accurate historical context that successfully challenges the violent image of Blackbeard.

Was Blackbeard a GENTLEMAN? Historical records show feared pirate was actually an aristocratic family man who gave up his wealth to help his brother and sister