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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lt. Robert Maynard: Rewards of Killing a Pirate!

In my book, Murder at Ocracoke!, I discuss the mission to destroy Edward Thache, known as Blackbeard the Pirate, in the proprietary colony of North Carolina:
[Virginia's Lt. Gov. Alexander] Spotswood appeared to collude with Royal Navy forces, originally sent to guard Virginia from pirates, to murder Edward Thache in North Carolina. Capt. Ellis Brand of 20-gun sixth-rate HMS Lyme and Capt. George Gordon of 42-gun fifth-rate HMS Pearl supplied the men, including Lt. Robert Maynard of HMS Pearl to lead the expedition. Two local Virginia sloops, Ranger and Jane, were hired for this purpose and they sailed from Kiquotan on November 17, 1718 to hunt Edward Thache and kill him in North Carolina, which they accomplished five days later...

The man who killed Blackbeard the Pirate had made a name for himself through this action, particularly in the media. Still, Lt. Robert Maynard's theft of gold and other valuables, estimated from £1200 to £1400, in the amount of the sales proceeds.from the famed pirate Edward Thache, when captured and killed on November 22, 1718, hurt his career. This was not necessarily because of the crime, which the Admiralty and their lawyer Anthony Cracherode could not definitively prove, but because of further demands made, time, and expense he incurred upon the Admiralty and the media campaign that ensued - a media campaign that most certainly annoyed Secretary Josiah Burchett and his superiors.

This exploration also illustrates the value of genealogical inquiry into historical subjects, especially in light of the massive amount of documentary data that has been digitized and recently made available to online researchers.

When any Royal Navy officer captures or kills a pirate, the pirate's "booty" became the property of the king until its ownership was otherwise determined. Maynard was accused by his own captain, George Gordon, of pocketing significant amounts of that booty! Taking the money and goods not only annoyed his superiors in London, but Maynard's further demands for bounty payments for killing Thache and capturing his crew also worked against him. Furthermore, he made a media spectacle of the affair to draw attention to his desire, like wealthy pirate Richard Tookerman did to Capt. Edward Vernon.  Maynard paid for this, but not heavily - perhaps his family affiliations protected him.

Career navy officer Robert Maynard, of Great Mongeham, Kent, England, after beginning his career as an 18-year old lieutenant in 1706, died as a captain in 1751 at the age of 63. Maynard, as the grandson of Major General Thomas Handasyd (through his mother Ann; a governor of Jamaica from 1702-1711), he qualified as an officer at a time when military attainment was more due to your connections than your actual ability.

Still, Maynard only attained the rank of captain after 35 years of service. He spent the first 32 years of his navy career as a lieutenant and only then, in 1739, was promoted to commander at the age of 44. After 1739, as commander, Maynard was finally given the command of 8-gun HMS Cumberland, captured Spanish Princesa in consort with HMS Lennox, and then promoted to captain the next year, with command of 20-gun Sheerness. It was only after attaining the coveted rank of captain in 1740 that his career took off. By 1741, he improved his career quickly by commanding three 50-gun vessels, Falmouth, Sutherland, and Antelope. After attaining 80-gun Russel in 1744, he also succeeded to the captaincy of 70-gun Ipswich by 1745. This was his last command.

At the time he killed Blackbeard and while serving aboard HMS Pearl, under Capt. Gordon, he briefly enjoyed promotion from 2nd lieutenant to 1st. But, a few years later, aboard 70-gun HMS Kent, we find that he had been bucked back to 2nd.The Blackbeard incident obviously had a deleterious effect on his career, if only briefly.

According to data from the latter 18th century in an article by Professor N.A.M. Rodger of Exeter University in 2001, lieutenants in general were becoming far more numerous than commanders by 1720. So, obtaining the rank of commander, rather than captain, by the age of 40 meant less favor with the Admiralty than most, in general, of course - assuming that issues of greater wealth and family importance were insignificant on average. Also, the number of serving lieutenants, as opposed to those available, showed that merely serving on one of his Majesty's vessels was probably a indication of wealth and/or distinction - hunting pirates also gave one a better chance to collect bounty payments and was much desired by most of the crew. Still, greed of the privileged classes, theft from pirates,and other general corruption in Royal Navy officers, was not at all uncommon, as I make quite clear in my upcoming book, Sailing East: West-Indian Pirates in Madagascar. In some cases, the theft is bold enough to gather attention - not the case, however, with Robert Maynard. Excessive paperwork was far more tedious for the Admiralty. Note, however, that they may have demoted him, but did not remove Maynard from the active list!


After killing the pirate, Lt. Maynard wrote a letter, allegedly dated 17 December in North Carolina, to his friend "Lt. [Richard] Symonds," 25 days after the battle telling about the capture of the famed pirate. This letter was published by the controversial Jacobite author of A General History of the Pyrates while in the midst of the Admiralty's negotiations with Robert Maynard. He also allegedly wrote a letter to his sister Margeret Peck* (1688-1776), wife of Capt. John Peck (d.1725), then living in Attleborough, Bristol County, Massachusetts.
* Note: Margaret married Capt. John Peck 1st 28 Jan 1710, St, Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex, England – children Thomas, John, and Ann - 2nd on 11 Apr 1726 to Capt. Thomas Mitchell Jr. (1660-1741 RI); National Archives of London, “Will of Capt. Robert Maynard” (12 Oct 1750 – 28 March 1751), PROB 11/786/442.

Illustrating the apparent official disfavor for Maynard was the career of this friend Richard Symonds, a lieutenant aboard HMS Phoenix, Captain Vincent Pearse, stationed at New York in December 1718. Maynard had been a nominally-successful lieutenant for 12 years up till his killing of Blackbeard. By contrast to Maynard's long 32 years as a lowly lieutenant, Symonds had gone from lieutenant to captain in only 20 years!

April 25 1719 Weekly Journal and Saturday Evening's Post - alleged Maynard letter from Nathaniel Mist's (aka "Capt. Charles Johnson," controversial author of A General History of the Pyrates) newspaper.

Symonds also was 1st commissioned in 1706 (perhaps why and when he became friends with Robert Maynard) and became captain of sloop Shark, commissioned in 1733 for the Bahamas station (follow here: John D Grainger, 13 Sharks: The Careers of a series of small Royal Navy Ships, from the Glorious Revolution to D-Day.). An interesting note here is that, on Shark's first voyage to the Bahamas, she carried their new governor Richard FitzWilliam, replacing Bahamas' pirate liberator Woodes Rogers who had recently passed away. FitzWilliam had been a significant part of Blackbeard's story. He had defended many of Edward Thache's men against Spotswood's charges of piracy - he was rumored to have been paid from their Queen Anne's Revenge or the original La Concorde French booty: gold dust and slaves.

As the  Shark returned from her Bahamas-Carolina station to the Nore, a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames estuary off the traditional anchorage for the Admiralty at the Downs, Kent. A serious illness had struck the crew of Shark.

Capt. Symonds requested a "a surgeon and surgeon's mate" on 4 August and still had not received "surgeon's chest," apparently desperately needed on Shark at the Downs on 12 October 1739 (records in ADM 106/913 and ADM 106/842, found at National Archives in Kew Gardens). Capt. Symonds was "still awaiting his surgeon Miles Williams and has sick on board," had been ill himself since 20 September and sailed to Dover without the chest, but "his Surgeon has supplied himself with necessaries for some time." Capt. Symonds had finally achieved the captaincy of 50-gun HMS Colchester in November 1740, just after this incident and died only two months later while at Georgia. Whether this was from his recent illness we might be able to determine from a closer study of the documents at the National Archives of Great Britain. Symonds friend Capt. Robert Maynard's career had finally taken off at the time his long-time friend had died.

Will of Richard Symonds of the Parish of Saint Margaret Westminster, 24 September 1733, probated 22 January 1741.

Capt. Richard Symonds, Esq. died unmarried, in January 1741. He was then in Georgia at the time. His body would have been buried at sea. As many navy officers, he made his will in 1733 just as Shark was commissioned and he was assigned overseas. His home was then in Wolvey, Warwickshire and his executor left much evidence of his effort to settle his affairs, also in the archives.

That he had still remained associated with Robert Maynard's family is apparent in the court case of Symonds v Boothby (1740-1744; C 11/1081/35) wherein plaintiff "William White (executor of Richard Symonds deceased of Wolvey, Warwickshire), William White junior and Elizabeth Symonds, sister of Richard, also involved Maynard's nephew "John Peck" as a defendant.

Capt. Robert Maynard followed his friend a decade later. "Will of Captain Robert Maynard of the Parish of Great Mongeham in the County of Kent" mentions £500 of South Seas Annuities for his daughter-in-law Elizabeth Judson, £300 to the "Ann Widow & Relict of my late Brother Captain Thomas Maynard," his mother "Mrs. Ann [Handasyd] Maynard," £200 to "friend Mr. Thomas Gee of Holborn," £500 each to "Nephews Thomas and [Boston glazier] John Peck and to my Niece Ann...," children of his sister, "Margaret [Peck] Mitchell." The will was dated 12 October 1750. It was probated 28 March 1751. Obviously, he acquired quite the fortune in his Majesty's service - by killing pirates! At least by £1200 to £1400! ūüėČ

Will of Captain Robert Maynard of the Parish of Great Mongeham in the County of Kent - dated 12 October 1750 and probated 28 March 1751
Stone states his death occurred in 1760. This may or may not be the memorial for the same man. Just in case, here!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pardoning Pirates: HMS Phoenix to the Bahamas, February-April 1718

In late 1717, America's first newspaper, Boston News-Letter, printed quite a few articles about the pirates of the Bahamas, particularly Edward Thache, or "Teach," known as "Blackbeard," and the "Flying Gang" of Benjamin Hornigold. Pirates were becoming more active. Thache, a Royal Navy veteran who may have sought to begin a revolution against British authority, would capture La Concorde of Nantes, France that November, making her his flagship as Queen Anne's Revenge. These articles represented the worried feeling of colonial factors and other important merchants, connected financially to London and Bristol.

Boston News-Letter 1717-08-12

Boston News-Letter 1717-10-14
Furthermore, Col. Samuel Shute, Governor of Massachusets Bay, presided over the trial of eight persons for piracy. These were the human remnants of Samuel Bellamy's Whydah, wrecked on New England's shores in April 1717. America was still young and growing. At this same time, Governor Shute negotiated to resettle a large number of Scotch emigrants from the north of Ireland, resulting in several ships with migrants arriving in August 1718. They eventually settled in New Hampshire, where they founded the town of Londonderry, after the location in Ulster, Ireland, named for the ancestors of current Bahamas investor Thomas Pitt, Esq., who, in 1719, was created Baron Londonderry, and, in 1726, Earl of Londonderry. This was the beginning of a major wave of Scotch-Irish migration to both New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Britain and her merchants saw the threat to British commerce and, thus successful settlement,  growing. London and Bristol merchants feared for their profit in the colonies and a group of them petitioned the king for help. Largely because of the complaints of these merchants, the Admiralty had, by that summer, sent numerous vessels to America, primarily to Jamaican waters, to guard trade. On 30 May 1717, Admiralty Secretary Josiah Burchett wrote to the various colonies a general circular, like this one to Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood of Virginia:
My Lords Commrs. of the Admty. being informed that Pyrates do very much infest the Coasts of Virginia; b[u]t more especially about the Capes, and his Majesty's Ship under your Command being sent to those parts principaly to protect the Trade of his Majties.
By fall of 1717, British authorities sought to arrest piracy's development in America once and for all. Appeasement was chosen as the preferred method - no sense in agitating these one-time and important merchants who had "temporarily" strayed into illegality.

On 5th of September, 1717, after a month of deliberations, a pardon, or Act of Grace was offered to these men if they would only cease their illegal transactions. Two weeks later, several "commissions for trying pirates in His Majesty's plantations" were also issued. It was also proposed by some of these merchants to found a new government at the Bahamas, under direction of Woodes Rogers, a former privateer himself. This had been well under discussion by Thomas Pitt, Earl of Londonderry, Capt. Woodes Rogers, "Adam Codonell, Charles Dominique, Wm. Chetwynd , Esq., Samuel Buck, and James Gohier merchants." They hoped for a profitable venture.

Capt. Vincent Pearse, commander (1715 - 1721) of HMS Phoenix, a 24-gun sixth-rate man-of-war, was entrusted to deliver the word of the Act of Grace before arrival of Rogers and his new government. Stationed in New York, he would sail to New Providence Island in the Bahamas and take the surrenders of any pirates willing to accept the king's pardon. He issued certificates to verify their surrender in case they were questioned about any merchandise they attempted to deliver to other ports. In other words, they could keep what they had already stolen. He would also arrest those who committed piracy again and ignored the pardon.

It sounded good... in theory. This analysis makes use of HMS Phoenix log entries and Capt. Vincent Pearse's letters to the Admiralty to arrive at the most accurate view of the surrender of Bahamian pirates, according to the viewpoint of the admittedly biased Royal Navy captain first on the scene. Like stopping the later revolutionaries of America in 1776, Britain's attempt to pardon pirates of Benjamin Hornigold's Bahamian "Flying Gang" would never be as simple as the Admiralty believed!

Winter of 1717-1718 was rather mild in the colony of "New Amsterdam" or New York. Turtle Bay, on the eastern side of Manhattan Island, had usually frozen over by January, but not this winter. HMS Phoenix rested at anchor in this bay on January 21st in "Moderate and fair weather." Occasional gales and squally weather moved in the next two weeks, as the ship watered and replaced her bad guns.

Reconstructie uit 1942 van de kaart van Nieuw Amsterdam in 1662, gebaseerd op plattegronden uit de jaren 1653-1664.[16] Ambrosius de Warm en Adriaentje Thomas woonden in 1665 op de Heere Graft (nu Broad Street) naast Tunis Cray, in 1669 in de Smee Straat (Smith Street, nu William Street), en in 1674 en 1686 in Princen Straat (nu Beaver Street).

At 10 in the morning on February 3, Phoenix unmoored from Turtle Bay, just north of the fortified "wall" of "[New] York" and moved southward in the East River toward the old town of "New Amsterdam," or New York, English since 1665, on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, anchoring in sight of "Passage House" and the "English Church," probably today's First Presbyterian Church, known as "Old First," established 1716 and still under construction in January 1718. Here, they took on new sails and a boat. Fort George would have been a rather imposing feature in the old Dutch town. The picture below shows spires from the various churches in 1730.

A View of Fort George with the City of New York. It was originally "Fort Amsterdam" under the Dutch, but renamed as Fort William Henry in 1691, Fort Anne or Queen's Fort in 1703, and finally Fort George in 1714. Engraving by I. Carwithan, c. 1730. Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress (48) -
Postcard depicting “Fort Amsterdam ‘Now the Battery’ in Kieft’s [1670s] Days” (c1910).

At 2 pm on February 6, 1718, HMS Phoenix weighed again and set sail "bound to providence with his Maj:ts most Gracious Proclimation for Suppressing the Pyrates." Three hours later, Capt. Pearse guided his ship through the "Narrows," anchoring for the evening. Again, he weighed at 10 AM, sailed "out of the [Sandy] hook," 6 miles from "Never Sunk," probably Navesink River, an estuary, approximately 8 mi (12 km) long in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

To arrive at any destination southward in America, Pearse found it necessary to set his course southeastward, then to tack into the trade winds to New Providence. Five days at sea, after over 250 miles, they encountered a Bristol ship heading for Virginia. After 325 miles, Phoenix then set her course more southwestward, to arrive on the east side of the Bahamas. The Royal Navy vessel made variously, according to wind and course changes, between 46 and 180 miles a day. In 15 days and after over 900 miles, Phoenix entered the Bahamas on February 21st, anchoring first just off Harbour Island. "bearing SSW 3 Leagues stood off & on till noon making of Signalls for a Boat but none appear'd."

An exact draught of the island of New Providence one of the Bahama Islands in the West Indies (17__?), Library of Congress.

Benjamin Hornigold resided on Harbour Island, but traded often at Nassau, on the main island of New Providence. This is probably where he could then be found, awaiting Phoenix's arrival, for certainly, the many merchants found in "Providence Harbour" when Pearse arrived probably included some from New England who knew of the plans for HMS Phoenix to sail there with the king's Act of Grace. At least some of the pirates were eager for the pardon - some were obviously not.

Upon arriving off Providence Harbour the next morning, February 22nd, at 7 AM, in wind and rain, HMS Phoenix was "Saluted by two of the pyrates Ships," Pearse found "severall Ships & Sloops with Colours of all Nations Flying." She anchored and Pearse then "sent [his] Lieutenant a Shoar with a Flagg of Truce & his Majesties Royall proclamation of the Act of Grace." 
[Description of harbor in letter of 3 June:] The harb'r of Providence has two Entrances one to the Eastwd the other to the Wt Wd a Barr about 8 foot water into a thwart the Middle of the harb'r the Wt Wd part where I ?nd was 20 feet at Spring tides at Low Water.
Of the vessels in the harbor found by Pearse were "5 ships[,] 3 of them from 18: to 36 guns [-] also 9 Sloops which were Traders with these Pyrates but pretended they never did itt till the Act of Grace was Published[:] one of the Dutch man of 36 guns & another of 26: one an English Pink one a Bristoll Gally [Mary] & the other a French Ship of no Force."

The next morning, Pearse's lieutenant returned and informed his captain "that he was receiv'd by a great number of Pyrate[s] with much Civility to whom he read Publick the proclamation and they accepted the same with a great deall of Joy[.]  [A]ll their Commanders did the like." In all, he later wrote there were "about 500 all Subjects of Great Britain & young Resolute Wicked fellows." But, then, by this time, he was quite annoyed with Hornigold's Bahamian pirates of the "Flying Gang."

Pearse, in a letter to the Admiralty, wrote that "four of their Commanders [Benjamin Hornigold, Francis Leslie, Josiah Burgess, and Thomas Nichols] & one hundred & fourteen of their Companys had then Voluntarily Surrenderd themselves to me & accepted of his Maties most Gracious Pardon." He also noted his personal impression of these men, that these Bahamians were a "parcele of unthinking people." These "unthinking" people also alerted Pearse's lieutenant that "a Sloop call'd the Lark was att anchor att Bushes Key with a design to goe out upon the Account again." The pirates, including Benjamin Hornigold and other captains, happily surrendered, but also expressed that they had become divided on the issue of accepting the pardon.

Pearse wrote on the 24th of February that "I had fired severall Shott att [Lark] she bore down to me so I sent my Lieutenant on board and took Possession of her[.] [S]he had but 16 Men wch: pretended she [was] going into the Harbour to Surrender themselves to me and to Accept of his Maj:ties Pardon in the Evening." Pearse noted that "Some of thes[e] Commanders and Ringleaders came on board and Informed me that my taking the Sloop had very much alarm[ed] all the Pyrates in Generall[,] beleiving that the Men [taken] in her would be Executed[.] [T]herefore the Said Commanders Assured me that my Setting att Liberty these Prisoners would be a very great means to induce these People to Surrender and Accept the act of Grace; which I accordingly did and this Confirm'd them all of his Majesties goodness towards them." It's quite possible that, when the captain of this sloop Lark, certainly Charles Vane, was first captured by Capt. Pearse and surrendered aboard HMS Phoenix, he may have felt that he had no option but to pretend to take the pardon. Charles Vane, however, cared little for "his Majesties goodness," reneged on the Act of Grace almost immediately, and was determined to remain defiant!

For the next three days, other pirates would periodically come aboard HMS Phoenix to surrender to Capt. Pearse and receive their certificates. Within the course of the next month, as Pearse wrote on 3rd of June 1718, "Since that time Ninety more of them have done the like." He sent a list from his home port of New York with that letter of 209 names of pirates to whom he had given pardons.

On the 28th of February, another sloop from Carolina came into the harbor. That night, "hard gales and Squally" weather loosed their anchor and briefly drove them aground. Working late into the evening, his crew was able to get the ship free by midnight.

On the first day of March, the morning began with some of the pirates setting a sloop on fire. Little came of this however. Pearse only mentioned that he fired 15 shots as a salute to the Prince of Wales, or future George II, on his birthday. The day after, Phoenix again ran aground in the harbor's shoal waters. In two hours, they were off again.

Pearce wrote a letter to the Admiralty to inform them of his progress. In that letter, he advised the secretary on three pirates who were still out at that time: 
If I had not come in as I did the Greatest part of these people I'm inform'd would have been gone out by this time, one Sloop call'd the Dragon [Capt. Edward Congdon] being gone out with Ninty Eight Men about eighteen Days before my arrival, which Sloop (With one commanded by Capt. Teech [Edward Thache] who has been out about 8 months [since July 1717]) are gone on the Coast of Guinea & from thence to Brasile there is an other Sloop out[,] Commanded by Capt. Napping which they expect in Dayly, and these are all the English Pirates that has bee[n] Concerted as far as I can Informe my Self from them.
No doubt, he intended to eventually seek them out as well, but events would not go quite as planned. On the 5th, three sloops with former pirates aboard made their way out of the harbor. Pearse noted in a letter that the pardoned pirates dispersed in large numbers "from this Island, & they already drop off as they can Meet with Opportunity of passage." The next day, his gunner, John Nichols passed away, who was saluted with 8 guns at his burial.

More pirates came aboard on the 11th to take pardon and, on the 14th, four more ships departed with former pirates onboard. They were each bound for Carolina, Bermuda, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Three days later, two more South Carolina sloops arrived.

Just four days shy of a month in Providence Harbour, on the 18th of March, the pirates still on Providence had probably grown bored - or perhaps the lack of income from pirating finally became reality. A few of the pirates at New Providence Island were less than repentant. Pearce noted that one vessel with 16 crewmen had sailed west, intending to go on the account once again. The next day, another vessel with 24 men followed them, intending to join them. Still, the 21st of March, when a sloop from Jamaica entered the harbor from the east, pirates, in sight of HMS Phoenix, brazenly took it. The pirates probably remained behind, or east of, Potter's Key, protected by the shallow waters between the key and shore. They were effectively out of range from the warship.

Capt. Pearse, in good conscience, could not allow honest merchants to sail out of the harbor, knowing that these Bahamian men, probably most of whom had taken pardons already, had returned to piracy. He knew that there were at least two pirate ships to their west. The next day,  the 22nd:
... att 1 this morning sent my Pinnace Man'd & Arm'd to Surprize the Pyrates on board the above mentioned Sloop; but they being too Strong she was Oblidged after Exchanging severall small Shott to return'd on board[.] I Summon'd the Inhabitants to Assist me in Surprizing these pirates but by their Actions; they Seem'd more inclinable to Assist [them, rather than] to Reduce them.
[Letter of 3 June:] Whilst the said Pirate Sloop was at Providence I Several times Summoned the Inhabitants together in His Maties name & us'd all the Arguments possible to prevail with them to assist me in Suppressing the said Pirate, but they always Rejected all Methods Impos'd, entertain'd and assisted them with provisions & necessarys & on all Occassions shew'd no small hatred to Government, which if an other Ship of Warr had been with me I should have been able to have prevented as also the rest from going out againe.
So, when four sloops intended to depart with their goods, Pearse went with them that evening (22nd March, not the 24th) to at least make sure that they got clear of Bahamian waters. Apparently, his memory failed him slightly, as he later wrote in his letter of 3 June (log entries colored red to distinguish):
There was then in they harbour three [log states four] Sloops ready to Sail for Carolina & Road Island, the Masters of which was under Apprehension that in case they should goe out by themselves they must inevitably fall into the hands of the said Pirates, therefore I sail'd for their protection on the 23 March and after I had Seen them safe off the Coast, I Return'd [log, 24th March: Saw the Pirates sloop among the Island with a Red Flagg att her Mast Head] & Cruiz'd off the harbour and the Boobie Rock till the 30 [March] to Secure any trade that Should be bound in. During which time I prevented two Sloops from being taken by them. But I being then Short of Water I put into Providence the day following the said Pirate Sloop who had been out since the 24 Inst March came to an anch'r at the Eastermost part of the harbour with an other called the Lark which they had taken three Days before off Harbour Island on board of which they had Removed themselves [According to his log entry of the 23rd of February, the first pirates to surrender told him about "a Sloop call'd the Lark was att anchor att Bushes Key with a design to goe out upon the Account again" - the provenance of Lark appears confused in this letter], She being a good Sailor & Equipt with 2 Guns and 8 Patraroes, there was a Barr between me & them on which was no more than eight foot water which made them very Insolent.
According to Pearse's log, on the 27th, a Jamaican sloop came into harbor and kept the warship company for protection. The next morning, Phoenix and the Jamaican sloop "Streched off the Harbour mouth of Providence," probably to reconnoiter the pirates' locations. When they returned the next day, they found that "the Pirates Burnt the biggest of the Dutch Ships and the Bristoll Gally and the other Dutch Ship of 26 guns they sett adrift ashore on Hogg Island where she now has Bilg'd." In the resulting confusion, the Jamaican sloop in his company had been taken by pirates and had joined the pirate sloop Lark at the eastern end of the harbor, where the shallow waters protected them from the heavier warship. Pearse wrote "The said Pirate Sloop was Commanded by one Cha Veine & Man'd with 45 Men, three [Robert Hudson, John Warren, and Thomas Kingston] of which was of my own Ships Company that deserted me & took on with them."

On the 1st of April, the pirates went on the offensive. Pearse wrote "last Evening a boat came from the Pirates with several hands on board her[.]  I fired Severall guns with round Shott & pa[r]tridge att her to Command her a board[.] Notwithstanding which she push'd a Shore." Things had really gotten out of hand. Two sloops who had run aground on rocks at Harbour Island came in from the east (the direction of Harbour Island), approaching the two pirate sloops there. Pearse "Loos'd [his] Topgt. sailes and hoisted them with the Sheets flying and fired severall guns as signals to them to attack the Pirates." Still, "they proving to be trading sloops," were captured by the pirates, who now possessed three prize vessels.

The morning of the 4th, Pearse found that Vane's Lark abandoned her three prizes and absconded in the the cover of night to the east, the only direction where they would not be seen by Phoenix. The day after, the carpenter John Dye, attempting to heal some pitch, nearly burned the forecastle and possibly the ship. Pearse "Confin'd the Carpenter[,] for neither him self nor any of the Crew attended the pitch when on the Fire[.] [N]either had any direction from my Self or any of his Superior Officers to make use of any att this time."

Then, on the 9th of April, at 10 AM, HMS Phoenix weighed anchor and attempted to leave Providence Harbour, but unfortunately ran aground again on the shoals at the western end of Hogg Island. Pearse designed for the east side of Abaco Island, then for Virginia in company of five sloops. After clearing New Providence waters, four of the sloops veered off for their destinations, leaving the warship and a lone sloop. That night, he encountered a sloop from Bermuda, making for New Providence and the next morning, turned southward to avoid Abaco Island, making his course southeastward, coursing around the large island. That night, he spotted a sail and gave chase, arriving 22 miles off the northeast side of Abaco Island. As he later wrote, "I mett a Ship called the John & Elizabeth which was taken by the Pirates from the French in Octr last, and now Loaded with hides Piratically taken from the Dutch [by Benjamin Hornigold] Since the 5 January, and In possession of some people who had been pirates."

Pearse "Seiz'd her for his Majestie[,] took most of the Men out & Mann'd her out of his Maj:ts ship under [his] Command and then made Sail having given directions to [his] Gunner who [he] put in Commander of her to keep [him] Company and to Observe [his] Signalls according to the Instructions [Pearse] gave him." He carried John & Elizabeth with him to New York, as Pearse wrote "am proceeding against her according to Law Shall give their Lordships a particulr accot of what is done with her my Next." It was not until 4 Mar 1722 that the Privy Council even looked into the "petition of Capt. Vincent Pearse of H.M.S. Phoenix for the division among the officers and crew of the Phoenix of the proceeds of the pirate ship John and Elizabeth and its cargo of hides, seized by him in April, 1718, and condemned in New York."

Clearly, Capt. Vincent Pearse of HMS Phoenix accounted his mission somewhat of a failure. The pirates had initially surrendered, but New Providence Island had returned to a lawless state in less than a month. Resigned, he wrote 3 June, "there is not yet any Fortifications at either Entrance to defend the [s]ame & Believe the Governm't will find it Difficult to drive those people from thence & the other Islands without the assistance of a Small Man of Warr or two, & those very well Man'd there being many Small harbours & Keys where they can Ride in safety & Supply themselves with Water, and Just in the Way to intercept all Trade."

Monday, July 09, 2018

Brunswick Town: An Illegal Beginning for the Lower Cape Fear

Source: William Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, Plate 48.

John Barnwell’s Map of circa 1722 – Note that a road seems to have been established from the inhabited portions of the Winyaw area of South Carolina to the Lake Waccamaw area just west of the Cape Fear River, some years before the official land grants in 1725 upon which Maurice Moore would found Brunswick Town, also on the west side of the river. The assumption had usually been that, since the river was thought by many to be the dividing line between the two Carolinas, that land on the west side would be located in South Carolina. Moore intended Brunswick Town to lie in South Carolina territory, on illegal grants given him by the North Carolina governor.

Another note of interest is the notation (here annotated) that Col. Barnwell was wounded on land that Roger Moore later obtains between the two branches of the Cape Fear River in a single 5,500-acre grant in 1726.

Brunswick Town and Wilmington

Brunswick Town and Wilmington

Price: $9.95

This story of Brunswick Town, the Cape Fear region’s first port city, provided a deep-water port that accommodated trans-Atlantic shipping on the only easily accessible river in the colony of North Carolina. Contemporary accounts stated that it was like to be a “flourishing place,” while town lot sales reflected its profitability in 1731. However, Brunswick Town was not destined to remain and its founder, Maurice Moore and his family would suffer great economic trials as a result of the founding of Wilmington across the river. Gov. George Burrington's opposition to the Family was wholly political. Brunswick Town barely lasted until the American Revolution and today, remains only a vague memory. Baylus C. Brooks, author of Blackbeard Reconsidered: Mist's Piracy, Thache's Genealogy, delivers another brand new view of North Carolina's history!

Saturday, July 07, 2018

America: Savage Shackles of Trump's South!

Donald Trump's support comes primarily from the traditional and conservative ex-slaving South and rural agricultural states founded since the Civil War. Why is this support primarily Evangelical Christian? Indeed, how can a pro-slavery culture also call themselves "Christian?" These questions are not simple and they go far back in the history of our democracy itself... assuming that America can claim to be wholly democratic in the first place! We may still suffer from a cultural "mental illness!"

English adventurers who wanted to gain profitable advantage from the New World came to the West Indies, as Spain had before them. They had lived a century in the shadow of the more powerful Spain and planned to take what they could from their rival, especially after Elizabeth I's defeat of the mighty Spanish Armada in 1588. John Hawkins, Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Francis Drake and others were the famed pirates of Queen Elizabeth! Pirating became their blood, their raison d'etre. They stole gold, silver, land, and slaves from their long-time rivals. These pirates began a tradition of savagery and brutality, officially supported by their monarch in England. English America began "beyond the lines of amity" as a wild place where even the most civilized of men became unwelcome to their friends and relatives back home in European. Furthermore, these pirates said that every act they committed was endorsed by God, but they truly used "God" as rhetoric and established their dominion in the New World based on this "Evilly-Christian" ideology:
Despite defying his Queen, subjugating peoples around the world, bullying, threatening, and then lavishing gifts upon his victims, Sir Francis Drake epitomized the English hero of the age as a “Sea Hawk.”  Of Drake, historian Wade Dudley remarked that he used God as a fear-invoking device, personally conducted religious services on his ship, despite the presence of clergy on board.  After the execution of one of Drake’s own crew in the Straits of Magellan, Dudley remarked “Though Drake certainly used God’s words to bend his crew to his will, he may well have been salving his own troubled soul.”

Later, these merchant-pirates (with troubled souls) came to mainland America from Barbados, a colony that found it more expedient and profitable to work slaves to death and replace them, rather than preserve their lives - still, God supported this crime against humanity. They founded a colony in 1671 called Carolina - still with this same cruel conservative ideology. That colony became the womb of the South, spreading slavery and their brutal brand of Christianity across the lower half of North America. It would later follow the path of rural agricultural states formed after the Civil War, roughly the same region as shown in this map of Trump's support at the time of his inauguration:

Founding Carolina was not the gilded venture found in most early history textbooks, but an oft-ignored and religiously-justified immoral and bloody affair. To begin this new approach, to understand Barbadian ideology as it contributed to the Lower Cape Fear, necessitates a study of the commencement of America in the Caribbean. The sugar islands and the capital that they created contributed significantly to Carolina and the Lower Cape Fear’s development.  Tied in a great portion to West Indian sugar production, laissez-faire capitalism also developed “with the convergence of agricultural improvements, global explorations, and scientific advances.”

"Laissez-faire" or "to let be" these brutal institutionalized practices could never be truly justified by any benevolent God, but they still became recognizably American. These brutal merchant-kings, accurately styled "pirates" by the rest of the world, intended to create their own mini-monarchies away from England - independent of, and far from the control of the English civility, after 1713, led by a German foreigner who didn't even speak English. This racist American culture produced buccaneers like Sir Henry Morgan, a brutal governor who sacked Panama and abused the Spanish citizenry - also, pirates like Blackbeard, Henry Jennings, Charles Vane, and the brutal Edward Low.

These men were not only racist, but also greedy profiteers, desiring to be independent kings in the New World, with huge tracts of land (a rare commodity in England) worked by massive numbers of slaves that they had grown so dependent upon for their sugar plantations in Barbados. They did not shy away from theft as a means of supplying their needs. Independent authoritarian land-owners, with visions of great avarice, they would establish their immense profitable fiefdoms all across the South.The society that they created was strongly feudal in ideology - with haves and have-nots, each class decided by God primarily upon the color of their skin. African slaves, treated no better than animals, were the serfs that would work the plantations of the new American nobility, authoritarian and unquestioned - literally dictators of the New World.

In 1776, at the time the American colonies decided to make their break from Britain, these new Nobles of the South saw their opportunity to have their own domains to themselves once and for all. They would reaffirm their new American feudal society, without a king to tax them and free of British abolitionists - those who annoyingly told them that slavery was immoral. When the colonies proposed a unanimous "Declaration" against a king “whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people,” Thomas Jefferson realized that a "free nation" could not also enjoy slavery. Jefferson included an anti-slavery clause in that document to avoid hypocrisy and to form a true democracy that any benevolent "creator" would endorse. This did not sit well with Southern colonies. South Carolina and North Carolina held the rest of the colonies hostage... holding their vote until Thomas Jefferson's anti-slavery clause was removed from the "unanimous" Declaration. True "democracy" would have to wait. Even afterward, the South strangled the nascent "democracy" again in 1789, demonstrating, like Sir Francis Drake on the deck of his ship, that their "Godly" support was merely a political device. He exposed the true desire of these early brutal capitalists - profit:
Upon the Constitutional debate following the American Revolution, John Routledge of South Carolina argued that “Religion and morality have nothing to do with this… interest [profit] alone is the governing principle with Nations.” Routledge, with an eye toward protecting their lucrative institution of slavery, represented the Deep South as Woodard described.  Morality, or lack thereof, most certainly influenced his argument.  He used the South’s great plantation wealth, derived from slave labor, as leverage at the Constitutional Convention, leverage to force its legitimization.  “The true question,” he said, “is whether the Southn. States shall or shall not be parties to the Union.”   Routledge held the Union hostage to officially accept slavery and Deep South whims.
In only 70 years, the South eventually fought a Civil War against their old ideological enemy- the slavery-damaged democracy of the United States - over protecting slavery, firing the first shot in that bloody war that killed 600,000 Americans.  

The political device invoked by Drake reappeared once again: their more monarchical Constitution invoked "the favor and guidance of Almighty God," contrary to the United States' "separation of church and state" and the doctrine of "religious freedom." The Confederacy was to be a "Godly" nation that also protected their "peculiar" brutal and profitable institution of slavery by making it the law of the land. The conservative capitalists would even protect their profits from non-slave states: "Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy."

Wikipedia's article on the CSA Constitution explains "Whereas the original U.S. Constitution did not use the word 'slavery' or the term 'Negro Slaves,' but used instead 'Person[s] held to Service or Labor' which included whites in indentured servitude, the Confederate Constitution addresses the legality of slavery directly and by name." The Confederacy also sided with our old enemies England and France (much like Trump does with Russia today) against us. 

Thomas Jefferson's old thoughts come back, reflecting the old split-personality of a damaged democracy... how can any democracy, a desired humane and "free" society, be filled with slavers who own an entire population of people who are certainly not free? How can these slavers claim to be "Christian"?

This is cultural and not easily changed. American award winning journalist and writer Colin Woodard, best known for American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (2011) writes that artificial boundaries “mask the cultural lines along which attitudes toward violence fall.”  Social violence today, he thinks, has distinct ideological origins. Woodard’s view politically divides our nation into several parts, examples of which are “Yankeedom,” “Tidewater,” and “Deep South.” He ignores traditional state boundaries in an effort to analyze ideological variation in North America to understand its predilection for conflict. He affirms that the Deep South received their ideology almost directly from Barbados, a West-Indian style slave society, “where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many.” By great contrast, Yankeedom in the north put “great emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders.” By far, the dominant ideological divisions were "Deep South" and "Yankeedom." These ideologies would never work well together - most notably, because the South was feudal and not democratic! Their original plantation/serfdom brutality was passed down through the generations, threatening our democracy at every turn.

Many profited from slavery, but only the South politically maneuvered to maintain this profit, insincerely citing God as an investor and promoter. At no time than the present is this ideological division more strenuous than in the political disunion we now experience.

Plainly put, a conservative culture which made profits on the whipped backs and deaths of other human beings could not truly be expected to rise to the level of humanitarian - especially not when they used the Bible to justify these acts. Southern Evangelist support for Donald Trump demonstrates the split-personality problem still infecting America today.

Trump's adopted ideology is the most conservative and the most inhumane that America has faced since 1861! 

Yes, this ideology is conservative. It is also the living embodiment of Barbadian or West-Indian Slave Society... it still exists - even if the original slavery has been forbidden, replaced by a searing desire to profit on the backs of the less fortunate - even still. The minds of these ex-slavers would take much more time to change - especially after their "property" had been forcefully taken from them - and especially if they, even insincerely, saw their culture as just - decreed as right and proper, even holy, by God himself! The uneducated of their society see nothing of the nuance between God and profit, only support the wealthy protectors of their time-honored feudal ideology.

In traditional Southern Evangelism, these pirate-descendants reinforce a violent, destructive, and vindictive God in great contrast to the “emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization," of Yankeedom or the North, "through social engineering [education], denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders, [or immigrants].” Deep South culture denies the fact that increased education provides better citizens -  ignorance makes for more obedient slaves or later, low-paid workers. Furthermore, Deep South culture fears outsiders. Southerners traditionally do not welcome other cultures to increase their variety - rather, they prefer to preserve their own possessions and purity of blood - an old desire descending from the days of their animosity toward Spain. In every respect, this ideology is definitely not democratic! But, the South still belongs to an American democracy? America attempts to progress and move forward, but is continuously held back by conservatives. 

Time have changed today, but little has changed to subdue the South's ideology or predilection for anti-democracy. When Pres. Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in June 1964, he told his aide Bill Moyers that Northern Democrats just "gave the South to the Republicans." And, he was right, dwindling Republican numbers encouraged Republican president Richard Nixon in 1968, to offer extremely conservative Southern Democrats, who were once the original slave owners of the South, to join the GOP, or the Republican Party.

This party has ignored all precedent in American History to support an authoritarian Donald Trump and many of his most fervent supporters come from traditional Southern states: Texas, Louisiana, and particularly Alabama, with alleged sexual abuser Roy Moore and his Attorney-General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

Donald Trump drew his support from these Barbadian descendants and their extreme brutal conservative ideology. Look again, consider geographically the maps of slavery in the United States before the Civil War and those of his supporters, expanding to include rural states formed since 1860 - states with similar ideology. Combine maps of the slave states in the Civil War to Trump's support in January 2017:

The conclusion is clear. Trump's support comes from brutal, inhumane, undemocratic ,and crude, but "Godly," West Indian Pirate-Slaver ideology. The recent Trump policy (authored by Alabamian Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III) of separating children from their families at our Southern border with Mexico (a nation traditionally founded by the old English enemy of Spain) only illustrates the persistent cultural trends of racism and fear of outsiders brought to our shores by pirates! Trump and his supporters' reaction to our first African-American president is all too obvious. Many still believe that their brutal God endorsed this, too.

Recent Facebook meme.. about some Alabama Christian conservative ideology.

Note that this was written by a Southerner who understands his savage culture and wants it to be better! This has infected our democracy for far too long! Let's make new strides toward a true democracy! #BlueWave2018