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Monday, December 16, 2019

Anti-Slavery Politics in the Legend of "Goody" Hallett, "Witch of Wellfleet!"

The legend of “Maria” Hallet appears to have first begun in 1934 with a reprise in 1937 from Josef Berger, who wrote the 1930's classic Cape Cod Pilot.  On pages 193-197, he regales the story of the "simple Eastham farm girl" of Cape Cod - and supposed wife of legendary pirate Samuel Bellamy - whose fate was linked with the wreck of Bellamy's Whydah

Her name was said to be "Goody" Hallett. This has since been a legend concerning the Golden Age pirate from Devon, England, who captured the most prizes of any Caribbean pirate before the legendary Bartholomew Roberts six years after him. 

But where did this legend come from? It certainly was not as old as Charles Johnson's A General History of the Pyrates.. coming up on 300 years! Halletts had been well-known and respected mariners in Massachusetts for more than a century – never even associated with maritime disaster until Elizabeth Reynard’s 1934 publication, The Narrow Land: Folk Chronicles of Old Cape Cod (1934). This legend has persisted to the present day. Indeed, in 1977, the Boston Herald published - on Halloween day, of course - the add below:

Boston Herald, 30 Oct 1777

This is almost certainly legend. It should be said that "Goody" or Mary or Maria Hallett has never been identified. No court records of her jailing or arrest have ever been found. Certainly, no bloody contract with Satan has ever appeared in print. And, no Cape Cod Hallett girl has ever been associated with "scuttling ships" off the Massachusetts coast.

Indeed, why make such pejorative slurs against a 15-year-old girl named "Goody" or Mary Hallett, the alleged “Witch of Wellfleet?” I thought only narcissistic, misogynistic, and pedantic jerks like Donald J. Trump were prone to abuse young women, either in bathrooms, or - like the 16-year-old Swedish climate-change activist girl - on his Twitter account - even as his statuesque Slavic model wife yells at Democrat witnesses to stop mentioning her young son, Barron Trump in hearings! Did such tribal politics also come into play with young Miss Hallett? 

Did she even exist for that matter?

Prior to 1935, the only similar reference – at least in Massuchesetts newspapers – was a shipping record for the vessel “Water Witch, of Wellfleet” in 1846. Furthermore, many vessels have carried "Witch" in their name. There have been as many as 2,899 newspaper references for both “witch” and “Cape Cod” together between 1716 and 1935, so the fairly recent Witch Trials of Salem in 1692 and the frequent devastating nor'easters probably left a lasting mark upon local Cape Cod maritime history. 

There was also Elizabeth Reynard’s other story about one Capt. Sylvanus of Cape Cod who blamed his oversleeping and allowing his sails to be ripped away in a storm upon the “Truro Hag” or witch – a woman in Truro who had sold him some milk – having drugged him by poisoning the milk! Truro is only a few miles north of both Wellfleet and Eastham), by the way. 

Another legend may have been influenced in 1851 by the wreck of Water Witch of Salem on those same shores. In fact, maritime disasters were so common in Massachusetts that 19th century newspapers carried a “Disasters” column in their shipping section! 

Culturally, associating witches or other such ominous supernatural phenomenon with disasters has been quite common in maritime folklore and disasters on Cape Cod were indeed frequent. Marine insurance company rates of the 19th century reflected Cape Cod’s shores as literally crawling with such “witches”  causing disasters to occur against their profit margins!

Still, why make the “witch” reference to a 15-year-old “Goody” Hallett girl (note that the term “Goody” made a timely cultural reference to the 1692 Witch Trials)? Was this simply a cultural recollection from 1692 - an attempt to demean the Hallett family as such a disaster? 

There may have been a coincident political reason to demean the Halletts of Cape Cod as possessing of some... “evil!” And, in this case, there was plenty of evidence... hanging in a Massachusetts train depot shortly before the Civil War!

A well-known Anti-Masonic (later Whig) politician Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1848-1852 and US District Attorney for Massachusetts between 1853-57, appointed by President Franklin Pierce - and native of Cape Cod – named Benjamin Franklin Hallett suffered political derision as a “soldier of fortune,” a betrayer of “every party and faction,” and a “flaming, intolerant, persecuting, temperance (anti-alcohol) man, and called loudly upon all the friends of temperance” before his death in 1862. Long-time researcher of Hallet, Roberto Poli, tells that:
Hallet was a staunch abolitionist, and a militant protector of minorities such as the native Mashpee Indians of Cape Cod, whom he defended in court in 1833 against 'whites' stealing their property in their own land... The various slanderous epithets with which he was labeled come from an episode that drew great attention, both from the public and the press - the trial of Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave escaped from the estate of Charles F. Suttle in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1854, and arrested in Boston. The trial became one of the most controversial episodes involving slavery in the years leading to the Civil War. As an abolitionist, Hallett openly despised everything the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 stood for; as a man of law, he was forced to use “reasonable force or restraint as may be necessary under the circumstances of the case” (Fugitive Slave Law, 1850; Section 6) to return fugitives to the claimants. Predictably, northern Democrats, fiercely opposed to slavery, heavily criticized him. He was described as a political machine, and was accused of turning his back to the cause. (added 2-1-2020)
Aside from his nominal abolitionism, Hallett was seen in Massachusetts as often sided politically with Southern Whigs (ancestors of slavery proponents known as Southern Democrats) in the nationalist and anti-immigrant Know-Nothing party. He incurred northern wrath for this distinctly un-Massachusettian political position. 

Stauffer Miller, author of Cape Cod and the Civil War, mentioned that during one slave trial in Boston, an unknown Cape Cod party felt that Boston (but Cape Cod-born) politician Benjamin F. Hallett “was too allied with Southern interests and suspended his effigy at the West Barnstable Depot. A note pinned to the effigy, dressed in a black coat, fancy pants and black hat, read, ‘Benj. F. Hallett, Attorney General for Southern Kidnappers. Cape Cod disowns the traitor to liberty.’ Attached to the coattail was a copy of the Barnstabie Patriot, with this message: ‘We would have hung the editor of this paper along with him but for want of time.’ Hallett never saw the effigy, as it had been removed when his train stopped at West Barnstable.” 

Even for a "hardcore abolitionist," B. F. Hallet suffered terribly from this political misunderstanding, re: perceived sympathy for slavery, conservative slavers, or Southern Democrats, as Roberto Poli writes:
It's not difficult to see why Hallett would be completely character-assassinated simply for being forced to apply the law [- return a slave to his owner]. The Burns [Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave escaped from the estate of Charles F. Suttle in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1854, and arrested in Boston] case was at the very early stages of his position as US DA, and once riots began on the streets of Boston (thousands of people gathered in front of the courthouse, shouting, spitting at and insulting the guards), Hallett's fate was sealed. He received specific directives via telegraph from the White House to increase the number of guards protecting the courthouse and Burns himself as he left the building, which was of course interpreted as an affront to liberty and dignity. At the end of the trial, thousands of people marched in protest on the streets; business owners hang black drapes outside their shops. Hallett was insulted publicly, and even assaulted in front of his home.
It may be that Massachusettians – particularly in Cape Cod - were notably relieved by his death in 1862 as he left a foul memory of their political opposition to - and hatred of - the South's peculiar institution of slavery. For their descendants today, Benjamin Hallett remained a disgusting reminder of tribal politics that precipitated the Civil War. This probably remained with his former constituents for decades, especially when white-supremacist resurgence flared once again in the early 20th century. 

The resulting political recollections possibly gave rise to the legend of Goody or Maria Hallet, the “Witch of Wellfleet” – a posthumous way of damning Benjamin Hallett and his family forever and chastising them for ever giving birth to such a contemptible slavery-loving politician! 

A Hallett girl, like Eve with an apple, a truly evil “Witch of Wellfleet” may then have slithered upon the pages of Elizabeth Reynard’s Chronicles of Old Cape Cod in 1934.


Elizabeth Reynard, The Narrow Land: Folk Chronicles of Old Cape Cod (1934), reprint (Boston: Houghton-Mifflen, 1968); Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph (Gloucester, MA), Jul 25, 1846, 4; National Aegis (Worcester, MA), Sep 30, 1840, 2; Nantucket Inquirer (Nantucket, MA), Aug 29, 1840, 3; Boston Shipping List, May 24, 1851, 1; Stauffer Miller, Cape Cod and the Civil War: The Raised Right Arm (Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2010); Email interviews with Roberto Poli.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Whistleblower Complaint on Audiobook!

Listen to an audiobook of the #WhistleblowerComplaint..

Yeah.. one has already been made! lol

#Extortion #treason #criminal #dictator #racism #ConcentrationCamps #CrimesAgainstHumanity
#ForProfitPrisons #TrumpIsADisgrace #TrumpIsANationalSecurityThreat

Mueller Report recap on YouTube:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

True History of Our Pirate Nation or Why the GOP are such Assholes!

 This actually introduces the conclusion in my book Quest for Blackbeard: The The Story of Edward Thache and His World, but I believe it holds great relevance to our monstrous political problems today and the reasons why our conservatives are such gigantic assholes! So, I'm including it here - so anyone can read it.

True History of Our Pirate Nation!

When Bernard Cooke of Barbados had accused James Grazett of saying “God damn King George and all his family; He is a Dutch dog and son of a whore… Here is King James the third’s health, right and lawful heir to the Crown,” he employed a common Jacobite rhetorical device.[1] Logicians today call it “attacking the man,” or an ad hominem political attack. The United States’ system of checks and balances only works when both political parties negotiate in good faith. Otherwise, any hearings or discussions devolve into ad hominem political attacks, like Cooke's. 
King George’s claim to England’s throne is confusing unless you understand that the House of Nassau was an aristocratic dynasty associated with Nassau Castle, located in present-day Nassau, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany – once a part of Prussia. Nassau, the primary town on New Providence Island of the Bahamas – the stronghold of the Flying Gang of Benjamin Hornigold’s pirates – was named in honor of William of Orange, a prince of Nassau. How did a Dutchman become a prince of a territory in Prussia? Well… William was a Dutchman (although married to Mary Stuart of fine Scottish stock), but also from the Ottonian branch of the Princes of Nassau who gave rise to the Princes of Orange and the monarchs of the Netherlands. The Principality of Orange actually originates from what is now France, but I’m sure you’re already completely confused as most everyone. Suffice it to say that this heritage goes back to the Holy Roman Empire until 1544 when the dynasties of Orange and Nassau aligned. William of Orange married Mary Stuart – but had no issue and therefore, the Principality of Orange fell into the hands of Frederic-Henry, Frederick I of Prussia, who ceded the principality — at least the lands, but not the formal title — to France in 1713. So, the title of a “Prince of Orange” no longer carried property – just a royal connection to the line of Frederick I.
On 1 August 1714, George Louis, son of Sophia of the Palatinate in Heidelberg – herself, the daughter of Frederick V, Elector Palatine and Elizabeth Stuart of England, became King of Great Britain and Ireland and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) in the Holy Roman Empire. George carried only a minor connection to the Stuart dynasty of England – as well as the Principality of Orange – and, so, was only seen as a “Dutch dog” and an illegitimate heir to the British Crown – especially by Jacobites, or supporters of James III’s claim to that Crown. Jacobite objection to the Hanoverian king owed much to isolationist political ideology – like today’s Republican Party in America. Okay, this is even more confusing and now, you need a mug of grog, right?
Anyhow, this device made political use of prejudice against foreigners: the non-British – particularly against the Protestant Dutch and their kin – Protestant Prussians or Germans. “Dutch dog” made light of George’s legal right to sit on the English throne – especially when he spoke no English, but only German! Cooke accused Grazett of being a traitor for elevating James III or the “Pretender” over King George I, the sitting monarch of the realm and the one that all loyal British citizens were supposed to support. Grazett accused Cooke’s wife of exactly the same thing – with almost exactly the same phrase.
British historian of the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, Ragnhild Marie Hatton assured us that the problem with King George I was not so much his ignorance of English. It had little to do with his public shyness. It did not even center on his scandalous treatment of his wife, Sophia Dorothea. The German prince was simply a weak, pallid, and foreign Protestant replacement for the strength of a Stuart of Great Britain. As William Makepeace Thackery wrote:

His heart was in Hanover... He was more than fifty years of age when he came amongst us: we took him because we wanted him, because he served our turn; we laughed at his uncouth German ways, and sneered at him. He took our loyalty for what it was worth; laid hands on what money he could; kept us assuredly from Popery ... I, for one, would have been on his side in those days. Cynical and selfish, as he was, he was better than a king out of St. Germains [James, the Stuart Pretender] with the French king's orders in his pocket, and a swarm of Jesuits in his train.[2]

Thackery had presumed that George I was good for Britain, that despite his dullness, George was the Protestant puppet that Parliament needed in their liberal Whig transformation away from monarchial corruption – a corruption that still threatened to ruin the colonies in America. And, then there was the politico-religious threat of popery. For Thackery, being a German was far better than being Catholic! The accession of George I signaled the beginning of a new British Empire, even newer than it was upon the accession of a Dutchman in 1688. Not all of the empire, however, agreed with these Whig changes that had originally begun under King William, the Dutch king who married Mary Stuart in a compromise of sorts to usher in Parliament’s will over the sovereign.
During the majority of the seventeenth century, America developed its piratical character from the Stuarts. Although also anti-Catholic, the American soul had not changed in the same way as Britain’s. America was still Stuart, a distant imperial reminder of Charles I’s casting of Parliament aside – casting aside the will of the people, not unlike the current U. S. president’s casting aside of Congress’s oversight authority. Parliament executed that Stuart king and ruled without a monarch for eleven years. They finally restored Charles II – with conditions – but the aristocratic excess yet returned with him – as it has today with corporations – as he finished developing the American colonies. Great wealth and great violence inhabited – and still inhabits – the American side of the Atlantic – essentially there to steal Spanish treasure – so also developing great prejudice against foreigners. Americans, having later lost their human property in 1863, simply have never consented either to return pirated Spanish property to its rightful owners – nor will it allow darkened foreigners on its stolen soil - no! Can’t you read the sign – “Whites Only!”?
It required great men of power and endurance to command the “trade” in that part of the world – trade that must be taken – and not actually “traded” from their rivals. Significant cultural change had already taken place between the softening, liberalizing British and the brutal, aggressive American martial mind. Of the Spanish depredations of the “pyrate” Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Osborne lamented in 1701 that “no Peace beyond the Line [in America] was a belief so Riveted in the Opinions of all, as he could not have been Indicted anew.”[3] Britain finally desired peace, but Americans, still much in tune with Raleigh, yet craved more bloody war, like their original Stuart patrons.
University of York historian J. A. Sharpe noticed an “upsurge in upper-class debauchery” during the Stuart reign of Charles II – and when Carolina was founded.[4] In his book Crime in Early Modern England 1550-1750, Sharpe said these debauchers, like Charles Sackville, the earl of Dorset, or John Wilmot, the earl of Rochester, “another courtier of vicious life,” largely passed freely and unpunished in England.[5] He also asserted about the gentleman class that “a number of types of behavior regarded as illegal by the authorities were thought of as legal, or at least justifiable on quasi-legal grounds.”[6] Court records, asserts Sharpe, reflect the consistent criminality of the lower orders – likely for reasons of sustenance – but completely ignore actions of the elite. These gentlemen were not the exceptions to the rule, but rather the rule itself in Stuart times. Their wealth and position gave them immunity from justice – they were “too big to jail.” It is reasonable to assume that when the invasion of the Spanish West Indies by the English occurred during this time, these freely-expressed negative characteristics came with these gentlemen – the violent notoriousness necessary to conquer Spain’s wealth in America. The result was an early America filled with an English criminal ruling element that showed little if any remorse for their criminal acts – a perfect pirate force to steal the wealth of the Spanish New World Empire. These attitudes spread not only to the West Indies, but also to mainland America with the establishment of Carolana with an “a” in 1629 under Charles I and Carolina with an “i” in 1663 under his son, Charles II - especially after the founding of Charles Town in 1671 by Barbadians – literally named for a Stuart monarch! Malcontents of all persuasians left England for a less-discriminating America, including ex-hero Parliamentarians with a certain fundamental ideological connection to the more northern colonies of New England. In America, they would be free to exercise the worship of their vengeful god and almost any crime with impunity!
From 1688-1689, at the accession of the Dutch Protestant reformer King William of Orange, Francis Nicholson was sent as lieutenant governor to the Dominion of New England. He quickly gained a reputation as a progressive and immediately alienated his less than enthusiastic conservative constituents in Stuart-favoring America. The Crown, though, appreciated his efforts at liberal reform, and upon his advisable departure from New England, he proceeded to Virginia to be its governor from 1690-1692. The British Crown was impressed and appointed him next to serve as Maryland’s governor from 1694-1698, and again as governor of Virginia from 1698-1705. Of his second term in this colony, biographer Natalie Zacek says that “Virginians recoiled at Nicholson's military gruffness and his uncouth public courtship of Lucy Burwell,” and his “attempts at reform threatened the power of such men as William Byrd I, so that several members of the governor's Council—including Nicholson's former ally, [James] Blair—convinced the Crown to remove him.”[7] Americans fought back! Neither progressives nor liberal reformers could grow amenable roots “beyond the lines of amity” in America – especially while at war, which, for America today, is just as frequent overseas – if not brutally consistant with hired mercenaries to do the dirty work and bring back the gold – or, in this case, oil. 
Once again, the Crown’s reform efforts in the colonies had been put aside for Queen Anne’s War, in which the future “Blackbeard,” or Jamaican gentleman Edward Thache participated. Nicholson returned to London and petitioned the new queen to make an expedition to take French territories in Canada. Nicholson captured the French Port Royal on October 2, 1710. This battle began the conquest of Acadia and permanent British control over Nova Scotia. In that effort, he combined forces with Sir Hovendon Walker, then commander of HMS Windsor – at one time, Thache’s ship – at the head of his fleet, perhaps with Thache aboard. Much of Walker’s fleet foundered on rocks near the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River. The expedition was cancelled, which greatly angered Nicholson, leading the land forces. He reportedly tore off his powdered wig and threw it to the ground when he heard the news. He spent some time afterward as Nova Scotia’s governor in Boston. There, he re-attempted his reform efforts, again, angering colonials, and removed these “notorious” American malcontents from office. Still, they all claimed him to be mad and had him declared incompetent. They regained their positions and cast Nicholson from New England. This was a common tactic used by colonial conservatives to maintain their power in America against the efforts of British Whig reformers.
Undeterred as a reformer, still the fervent wish of the growing Whig ministry under George I, Nicholson then found appointment as first royal governor of South Carolina during the more turbulent second phrase of the Golden Age of Piracy from 1721 to 1725. His instructions from the Crown cite the usual dealings with Indians, trade, and such, but a preamble to these instructions involved the legal issues surrounding piracy. His superiors realized that their initial efforts at reform could not be trusted purely in still-conservative colonial hands. Once the Crown gained control from the corruptly-Stuart Lords Proprietors, Carolina’s former private owners, they would still attempt to use this new Bahamian base in America to ensure reform – but, as all best laid plans….
Americans did not want reform and had proven quite obstinate and stubborn. They abused the procedures for piracy trials under the outline laid out by Sir Charles Hedges in the late seventeeth century. Edward Randolph’s assertion that pirates could not try pirates resoundingly rang true. The preamble called for no less than seven men, the governor or his representative being required as one. Also, the other six being “no person but Such as were known Merchantts, factors, or Planters or Such as Captains, Lieutenants or Warrant Officers in any of his said Late Majesties Ships of Warr or Captains, Masters, or Mates of some English shoar Should be Capable of being So Called and Sitting and Voting in the said Court.”[8] The word “English” is ambiguous here. It was not “British,” although the distinction is barely noticed today – at a time when these distinctions are nowhere near as important. Why write this detail or make this distinction? Americans had not been prone to put French or Spanish citizens on their admiralty courts – nationality was not the problem. Could it be that “English shoar” referred to the actual shores of England herself? It’s subtle, but, the Crown likely had not wanted natural-born Americans, as well as foreigners, judging pirate trials or administering justice to their own. Many English vessels visited the colonies on a regular basis. South Carolina records show a regular pattern of trans-Atlantic commerce from Bristol, Liverpool, London, as well as West Indian traffic. These “Captains, Masters, and Mates” of “English shoars” – not colonial or provincial – would be readily available to serve on such courts in America.
Nicholson’s superiors were quite serious – their subtly anti-pirate preamble went on for almost five full pages before Nicholson’s actual instructions began. They listed three anti-piracy acts: 11th William III, 1st George I (not only to prevent piracy, but specifically piracies on the king’s ships), 10th Anne I (on building county jails), and 12th William III (reiterating 13th Charles II for support of the navy overseas). One might get the impression that the Crown did not trust those remote provincials in the American wilderness. They had good reason!
The instructions themselves contain the usual references, with specific exception. No. 56 was undoubtedly generated by the extreme difficulties with the Richard Tookerman-Henry Wills case of that same year in London Courts. This instruction read that “no persons for the future be Sent as Prisoners to this Kingdom from the said Province of South Carolina, without Sufficient Proof of their Crimes, and that proof transmitted along with the Said Prisoners.”[9] Capt. Edward Vernon probably nodded his approval for the Crown’s caution – still smarting financially from that affair. He paid £1,200 in fines from the resulting judgement of false arrest, a travesty of justice expertly manipulated by pirates Tookerman and Wills – similar to the consistent obstruction of Republican President Donald J. Trump and his Attorney General William Barr in refusing to free the wheels of justice in America’s Trump Era by holding out on the Mueller Report and angering Democrats across the nation and in Congress.
Instructions 67-70 may have been of strong interest to Edward Thache. They concerned “Merchants and Planters of the West Indies” in corresponding and trading with the French Islands in those parts. The 5th and 6th articles of their mutual 1686 treaty prohibited “to Trade and Fish in all Places possessed or which shall be possessed by the other in America.”[10] The Crown worried that intelligence would leak to their Catholic enemy by continuous contact with these English traders – indeed as privateers and pirates gained intelligence from them. While at the Virginia Capes with Benjamin Hornigold, pirate Edward Thache may have been quite pleased to learn from Capt. Pritchard about the future visit of a large, lightly-manned and gunned slave ship (La Concorde) near Martinique. Pritchard had come upon the pirates as he sailed northward from his home port of St. Lucia, in the French Windwards. Still, once Thache arrived there, and soon after taking La Concorde, Thache might also have been quite annoyed with such English merchants as Christopher Taylor trading to Bequia. Taylor was the only man in any record who claimed violence was done to him directly by Thache, although greed - the money – may also have influenced Thache to do so. Furthermore, Thache never hanged Taylor from the yardarm, as he threatened; so, it may yet have been a bluff. Still, Thache expressed a particular annoyance with the French, who consistently threatened his home of Jamaica and with whom he fought consistently in the former war. His actions after capturing his Queen Anne’s Revenge demonstrate a steady determination to hurt the French in the French Windward Islands and at Petit Goâve in French Hispaniola.
Stuart Tories, Jacobites, and many elite Americans of conservative persuasion saw King William’s progressive policies and those of his successors and their many reforming administrative “Dutch dogs” as weakness. War had been natural for them. One may hear that “Might made right; strength over weakness made a resilient nation – it commanded trade and ensured profit,” or “Only the truly strong could be truly free.” “Piracy had become so interwoven into the social infrastructure of the Atlantic colonies,” writes Douglas R. Burgess, “that it helped shape the policies of many colonial governments.”[11] Piracy had built America. It completed the task begun in 1588 at the defeat of the Spanish Armada. British piracy had taken by force the precious treasures of Spain’s overseas empire. Piracy provided “many goods and luxuries that colonists from Boston to Charleston later took for granted.”[12] The end of King William’s War initiated a political transformation. Differentiation from England had occurred for at least the past five generations, 3,000 miles away, “beyond the lines” of amity, with West Indians consistently beating everyone else, including their own. The strong and martial Stuart ideologues in America were winning. By far, they won the lion’s share of the gold, silver, sugar, indigo, rum, and molasses. Of course, they should keep it for themselves, not give it to the British who ignored their needs! “Illegal” trade of piracy had become the primary source for goods on the American market. Remember that “legal” and “illegal” are wholly ambiguous terms, just like “treason,” “sovereign,” “freedom,” or “pirate.”
Britain’s efforts at reform only strengthened a conservative America’s resolve. As in Somalia, piracy can be a desperate act of resistance to perceived change or injustice. So it was in early America. This extraordinarily Stuart conservative New World Empire was threatened by changing liberal ideals back home in Britain itself since the accession of King William in 1688 and, again, with the end of Stuart rule upon the death of Queen Anne in 1713. The accession of the “Dutch dog” George I was the last straw. Conservatives or Tories of the eighteenth century, either in England or America saw their world and their profit coming to an end when a German king took the throne of Britain. It did not really matter that he was Protestant and not Catholic, although much has been made about that distinction and the religious differences had played their part. The main points, however, had little relation to religion. They were financial, political, and, to an increasing extent, cultural – the new king was a threat to their Stuart policies in America. He was the most liberal monarch yet foisted upon them from 3,000 miles away, and even, not English, Scottish, Irish, or even Welsh! George I was an immigrant king in his own country.
Jacobites, followers of the Stuart line of James III, or the ousted “Pretender,”responded with an attack on England to restore his rightful place on the throne. Pirates of the Golden Age in the West Indies may have believed that their actions aided the same agenda. These conservatives lashed out at a purportedly unfair system that threatened their traditions. Still, they were not yet prepared to mount a revolution and probably would have backed down had it not been for the glittery treasure, a source of great profit, spilled on the Florida shores in July 1715. The timing created a perfect storm in America.
During the Golden Age of Piracy, Douglas Burgess asserts, “Loyalty (or at least deference) to the English flag, which had been a hallmark of the profession [piracy] since the sixteenth century, gradually succumbed to a quite different sentiment: ‘war against all the world.’”[13] This shift in basic intent denoted a change in far more than just politics: it was territorial, the final culmination of cultural differentiation between England and America – the bonds snapped. Burgess said that this shift caused some, like Marcus Rediker, to “posit a protodemocracy of pirates that stood apart from and in conflict with the Crown and its colonies.”[14] Burgess’ desire to explain piracy as a phenomenon separate from American politics, however, handicaps his interpretations. Americans all across the continent and in the West Indies enjoyed and benefitted from the same “pirate,” or one-sided autocracy. Rediker was correct except that his “conflict with the Crown and colonies” was really just a conflict of the colonies with the Crown. America tested its hegemony in the water. It revolted against England in the Golden Age and simply failed the first time around – the second, however, would succeed. The argument is inescapable – we diverged from Britain in that they moved away from piracy while we firmly embraced it and created our culture from it. The umbilical cord snapped. America ideologically separated from Britain and began to truly see itself as an independent “Pirate Nation.” No amount of redeemer or conservative rhetoric would change that.

[1] Redington, ed., Calendar of Treasury Papers: 1720-1728, 166-167.
[2] William M. Thackery, The Four Georges: Sketches of Manners, Morals, Court and Town Life (London: Smith, Elder, 1860), 52–53.
[3] Francis Osborne, The works of Francis Osborn, Esq; divine, moral, historical, political (London: printed for A. and J. Churchil, at the Black Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, 1701), 378.
[4] J. A. Sharpe, Crime in Early Modern England 1550-1750 (Essex: Longman Group Limited, 1984), 97.
[6]Ibid., 12.
[7] Natalie Zacek, “Francis Nicholson (1655–1728),” Encyclopedia Virginia (Richmond: Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 2016), (accessed 30 Jul 2016).
[8] "South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977," images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), Charleston > Miscellaneous record, 1696-1729 > image 128 of 301; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
[9]Ibid., image 138 of 301.
[10]Ibid., image 139 of 301.
[11] Douglas R. Burgess, Jr., The Pirate’s Pact: The Secret Alliances Between History’s Most Notorious Buccaneers and Colonial America (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009), 169.
[13] Burgess, Politics of Piracy, 200.


#Blackbeard - 300 years of Fake News - based upon Quest for Blackbeard -

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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Actual English Invaders over the Mexican Wall of San Francisco de Campeche!

San Francisco de Campeche on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico maintains the appearance of a fortress to this day. It looks like a fortress because the entire city indeed was one, surrounded by a masonry wall built to keep out actual invading Englishmen and other foreigners - yes, Donald Trump - we English were the original pirates and criminals in America - and we preyed upon the Spanish!

They also built a full fort there that very much resembles the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida. And, Fort of San Miguel also still stands!

"Ah Kim Pech," or "Cam Pech,"  the site of future Campeche City was originally an indigenous village, called "Calakmul" by the Mayans, where the Spanish first landed in Mexico in 1517. It boasted a population of 50,000 at its height in the 6th and 7th centuries A.D. The Pre-Columbian city was described as having 6,000 houses and other structures. San Francisco de Campeche was founded there in 1540 by Francisco Montejo, Merida in 1542, along with 30 monasteries throughout the region. As a vulnerable port, Campeche was systematically terrorized by pirates and marauders until the city started fortification in 1686.

An eminent example of the military architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries, Fort of San Miguel is part of an overall defensive system set up by the Spanish at Vera Cruz to protect the ports on the Gulf of Mexico from pirate attacks like the infamous English 1663 Sack of Campeche.

Laying roughly 65 miles SW of Campeche lay the Laguna de Términos and it's associated Isla Del Carmen (formerly known as Isla Triste) which had finally been liberated from English pirates on July 16, 1717. Another 250 miles away - across the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico - lay Vera Cruz, the capital of New Spain's province of Mexico.

Fort of San Miguel, San Francisco de Campeche

A local beach on the shores of San Francisco de Campeche, Mexico - shows the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico

Hubert Howe Bancroft, in his History of Mexico, Vol. XI told of the struggles that Campeche had incurred due to the English, French, and Dutch pirates of the 17th century. Since 1632, these foreign buccaneers attacked all of New Spain, but Campeche had been especially troublesome for viceroys of New Spain at Vera Cruz. He wrote:
In 1632 six vessels threatened Campeche, but timely succor made them retreat. In August of the following year the town was again visited, this time by ten vessels under a leader known to the Spaniards as Pie de Palo. Guided by a renegade, he advanced against the entrenchment behind which Captain Gal van Romero had retired, but a well directed fire killed several of his men, and caused the rest to waver. It would not answer to lose many lives for so poor a place, and so a ruse was resorted to. The corsairs turned in pretended flight. The hot-headed Spaniards at once came forth in pursuit, only to be trapped and killed. Those who escaped made a stand in the plaza, whence they were quickly driven, and thereupon the sacking parties overran the town. Seven years later Sisal was visited by a fleet of eleven vessels and partly burned after yielding but little to the raiders.
In the following year they returned under the command of their two famous leaders Pie de Palo and Diego the Mulatto. After a hot fight the town was taken and sacked. Efforts to obtain a ransom failed, however, and when rumors of a force approaching from Merida became known to the corsairs, they departed.
In April 1648 these same pirates captured a frigate with more than a hundred thousand pesos on board, and a few weeks later boldly attacked a vessel in the very port of Campeche. At about the same time another band, commanded by the Dutch pirate Abraham Blauvelt, captured Salamanca.

During the second half of the seventeenth century pirate raids became more frequent. In 1659, 1663, and 1678 Campeche was again taken and sacked by English and French freebooters. "They were aided on this occasion by logwood-cutters, who since that time had begun to establish themselves on the peninsula; and, notwithstanding the repeated efforts of the Spaniards to expel them, successfully maintained their positions, till in 1680 they were driven from the bay of Terminos by forces sent against them from Mexico and Yucatan."

This raid of 1663 was particularly devastating. Christopher Myngs and Edward Mansvelt led an expedition of 14 vessels from Jamaica with 1400 men to raid the Spanish town and establish themselves at the Laguna de Términos. They were joined by four more French vessels and three Dutch for a total force of 20 vessels. It was an all-out invasion of Mexico by other squatter nations in Spanish America! But, the English were the primary aggressors in this action. Like most walls in history - especially those in the modern day - the wall around Campeche was wholly ineffective against English pirates!

Eva Leticia Brito Benítez, in "Pirate Assaults and the Defense of the Old Seaport of Campeche, Mexico (16Th-18Th Centuries)," Journal of Global and Area Studies writes:
In the same year, a raid of pirates burned lands but Captain Maldonado, commanding 200 soldiers and 600 Indian archers, forced them to retreat. Several criminals were captured and sentenced to death, among them was a man called Bartolomé Portuguese and known for having previously escaped Campeche.
In 1669, Spanish slaves rose up and decimated Campeche, and in 1670s Campeche was continually set upon by English pirates, who enjoyed protection from Gov. Thomas Lynch of Jamaica. English corsair Lewis Scott assaulted the village in 1678 and according to witness’s testimonies, he kidnapped 250 families. He also stole a lot of gold, silver, jewelry, sacred ornaments, sugar, soap, and meat; additionally, he took three of the fortress’s flags, broke down all of the artillery, and drilled 150 muskets. The garrison consisted of but two companies of half-clad and poorly fed soldiers, until after the raids of Scott and Lorencillo in 1678, when two more companies were sent from Spain.

In 1680, English and French logwood pirates, were expelled from the Laguna de Términos and in 1690, the Spanish fortified Isla Triste or today’s Carmen Island with artillery. A serious effort was made to defend the lagoon or bay, for the garrisons at Campeche were "constantly threatened by the wood-cutters of the bay of Terminos," as Bancroft inferred.

In San Francisco de Campeche, up the coast, the project of Martin de la Torre, begun in 1680, was passed to the French engineer Louis Bouchard de Becou. It was commissioned to unify all the defensive works that surrounded the city with a wall against the incessant English attacks from Jamaica. At its completion, the wall was 2,560 meters in length, forming an irregular hexagon around the main part of the city, with eight defensive bastions on the corners. Bancroft wrote "The total cost of the fortification of Campeche, derived from contributions by the crown and the inhabitants, and from certain imposts, amounted to more than 200,000 pesos. In February, 1690, the first pieces of heavy artillery ever seen in the province were landed at the town." The fortress was completed by 1710. Much of these walls still exist.

Project of Martin de la Torre - 1680


Modern city of San Francisco de Campeche

Wood-cutters returned to Laguna de Términos in two years, but Viceroy Conde de Galve reinforced the garrison there and repelled them again. Like the “place of snakes and ticks” of "Cam Pech's" name, the pirate pests returned again and again, persistent as ever.

Location of Isla Triste or Isla Del Carmen or Carmen Island.

About the pirate encampment, Bancroft wrote that a favorite rendezvous of these adventurers was the Isla Triste, or as it is now known the Isla del Carmen, at the entrance of the bay of Terminos. This base made for a perfect launching point and outpost to watch for and chase the Treasure Fleet carrying gold and silver back to Spain. During the war of the Spanish succession they frequently attacked Spanish vessels trading between Campeche and Vera Cruz. When pirates again became a nuisance after the Hurricane of 1715, another minor attempt to clear them was made in 1716, [but again, like the pests that Spaniards had always perceived them to be,] they returned. The new Viceroy in Vera Cruz, Baltasar de Zúñiga y Guzmán, 1st Duke of Arión, 2nd Marquess of Valero, then launched
... an expedition… despatched from Mexico by way of Vera Cruz to Campeche, and being reinforced by the troops stationed there, drove the intruders from all their settlements on the bay of Terminos. The attack was made on the 16th of July 1717, the feast of the virgin of Carmen, and hence the island [formerly Triste] received its name.

Bancroft continued:
A large amount of booty was wrested from the buccaneers, many of whom were slain, those who escaped harboring in Belize [in Bay of Honduras], where, being joined by others of their craft, they organized a force of three hundred and thirty-five men and returned to the bay of Terminos. Landing on the Isla del Carmen they sent a message to Alonso Felipe de Andrade, the commander of the Spanish fort which had been erected during their absence, ordering him to withdraw his garrison. The reply was that the Spaniards had plenty of powder and ball with which to defend themselves. The freebooters made their attack during the same night and captured the stronghold without difficulty, taking three of the four field pieces with which it was defended. But Andrade was a brave and capable officer, and his men were no dandy warriors. Placing himself at the head of his command he led them against the enemy, forced his way into the fort, recaptured one of the field pieces, and turned it against the foe. During the fight a building filled with straw was set on fire by a hand grenade. This incident favored the Spaniards, who now made a furious charge on the invaders. Their commander was shot dead while leading on his men; but exasperated by the loss of their gallant leader, they sprang at the buccaneers with so fierce a rush that the latter were driven back.

Contrary to this historical rendering, Adam Anderson of the British South Sea Company wrote of unwarranted English problems with the Spanish, asserting that the English had every right to cut logwood (a valuable source of die) from the area of Campeche surrounding the Laguna de Términos... a location that included the Isla Triste, a frequent settlement of "British subjects."  He titled his treatise "The Right of British Subjects to Cut Logwood at the Bay of Campeachy, Fully Stated" (1717).

Before the massive raid, in 1716, the Marques de Monteleone delivered a memorial to the "British subjects" - as Anderson referred to these moral-less merchants and brigandish boatmen - at the Isle of Triste "That, if, in the space of eight months, they did not leave the said place, they shall be considered and treated as pirates." This pronouncement alarmed the South Sea Company's Anderson, who believed it of vital importance to his company's business to state firmly (read: propagandize) British rights to the land at Términos - land that they had basically squatted upon and were run off from repeatedly for more than 50 years - although Anderson never mentioned that detail!

Anderson did admit that the English - he didn't say "pirates" - had taken the Spanish port of San Francisco de Campeche three times in recent history - though they never occupied it. He basically argued that the port and inland towns of  Merdida and Valladolid were "in a manner, wholly desolate and uninhabited." Well, why would pirates go through the trouble of taking it three times, then?

The Yucatan region did become the slowest growing area in Mexico, but not until the turn of the 19th century. San Francisco de Campeche was a bustling and important port of New Spain in the early 18th century - not as important as the capital at Vera Cruz, of course - and currently boasts of more than 200,000 residents. The state of Campeche has almost 900,000. The entire state of Mexico contained approximately 5-5.5 million residents in 1810. It's doubtful that the region was as desolate as Anderson inferred - perhaps disingenuously.

Anderson said that the English at Laguna de Términos magnanimously allowed the Spanish to occasionally cut their own logwood "in several parts near their own settlements" from time to time. He asserted that "pirates" - not necessarily "English" pirates - were numerous before the Treaty of Madrid in 1667, when the Spanish gave them rights to Laguna de Términos.

Did the Spanish actually give them rights to Laguna de Términos?

The man who negotiated that treaty for England, Richard Fanshawe, was charged by his superiors to demand reparations for wrongs committed against English merchants and to point out Spain's impotency in the West Indies and to assert the superiority of England's maritime strength. Fanshawe was not achieving England's demands, even against a Spanish Empire inflicted with a weak ruler, King Phillip. England replaced Fanshawe with Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich.

Negotiations were inclined against Spain when Portugal and France signed a treaty in March 1667 and France agreed to support an invasion of weakened Spain. Sandwich simply revisited Fanshawe's original treaty with some variation - mostly that England was granted ‘most favoured nation status’ and particularly that England was allowed to carry into Spain her colonial products and goods bought by their agents on either side of the Cape of Good Hope. Although the treaty never mentioned Laguna de Términos by name, British merchants, companies, and their oft-associated pirates used this treaty as an excuse to lay claim to the area. Essentially, the treaty stated that they both promised not to navigate or trade in the places occupied by the other.

So, no, Adam... Spain did not give the English specific rights to Laguna de Términos.

What's worse for Spain is that Portugal suffered a coup the next year, essentially removing the greatest fear that caused her negotiators to allow such magnanimous concessions to England.

Still, Anderson said that "the British privateers [after the Treaty] were then induced to quit their former course," which is not really true, but the most narcissistic part came next... "and to settle with the Logwood cutters in Laguna de Terminos, so that in the year 1669, their numbers were considerably increased, and great quantities of wood were transported both to Jamaica and New England."

He argued that the Spanish never acted as though the English "cutting of logwood was then esteemed an invasion." Yet, still, booted them from the lagoon in 1680. Anderson simply did not acknowledge the English crossing the border into Spanish territory and stealing their logwood precisely constituted that "invasion." He only touted the great profits accrued by his company through their cutting logwood (stealing valuable merchandise) in Campeche.. and, of course, the boon to the entire British Empire. In a textbook example of sheer narcissism, Anderson expressed anger at the Mexican authorities for resenting this theft!!!

No wonder they were back at war in December of 1718. 

Welcome to America - abode of pirates - those at sea and those in business suits! Nothing personal, of course.. just "friendly" competition. Just ask the pirates who razed San Francisco de Campeche, stole their slaves and Indians, and robbed and burned their citizens .

Reinforcing the "desolate" narrative, Anderson also told that Sir Thomas Lynch, then governor of Jamaica, had informed Secretary of State Earl of Arlington that their privateers had ventured seven or eight miles into the country although they "never saw any Spaniards!" And, that "our King's subjects [again, not "pirates"] have been used, for some years, to hunt, to fish, and to cut logwood, in divers bays, islands, and parts of the continent, not frequented or possessed by any of the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, and without any molestation." He also asserted that their activities were approved by the King's Privy Council.

Indeed, this piracy was approved by British authorities - since 1588! That was the problem. The ideology of harsh British capitalism-piracy created the United States. And, America has not changed.. only grown even more detached and "businesslike" - capitalists of the United States ideologically descended from the British South Sea Company - in its martial treatment of and capitalist trickery used against the Spanish.

The rhetoric used by Trump and Republicans today - of a wall against our friends - words like "animals" or "invasion" to describe immigrants at the Mexican border - is abominable in the extreme. Our Mexican friends in Campeche today only welcome us to their shores. Historically, from 1632 through today - for 387 years, we Anglo-Americans have climbed Spanish walls intended to keep us out - we raided, pillaged, and murdered these fine folks - rarely have we been good neighbors!


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from BBC Radio Bristol

300 years ago on Thursday - 22 November 1718 - Bristol born Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard, the most famous pirate in the history of the world), was killed in a violent battle off the coast of North America. And after 300 years we can finally separate the truth from the myth. You can hear the whole story this Thursday at 9am in a one off BBC Radio Bristol special: BLACKBEARD: 300 YEARS OF FAKE NEWS. With new research by Baylus C. Brooks, narrated by Bristol born Kevin McNally - Joshamee Gibbs in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and produced by Tom Ryan and Sheila Hannon this is a very different Blackbeard from the one in the story books...