A Merry Life

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On the previous day, Roberts had captured Neptune , and many of his crew were drunk and unfit for duty just when he needed them most. As he usually did before action, he dressed himself in his finest clothes:. Roberts himself made a gallant figure, at the time of the engagement , being dressed in a rich crimson damask waistcoat and breeches, a red feather in his hat, a gold chain round his neck, with a diamond cross hanging to it, a sword in his hand, and two pairs of pistols slung over his shoulders The pirates' plan was to sail past Swallow , which meant exposing themselves to one broadside.

Once past, they would have a good chance of escaping. However, the helmsman failed to keep Royal Fortune on the right course, and Swallow was able to approach to deliver a second broadside. Captain Roberts was killed by grapeshot , which struck him in the throat while he stood on the deck.

Before his body could be captured by Ogle, Roberts's wish to be buried at sea with all his arms and ornaments on a request he had repeated in life was fulfilled by his crew, who weighed his body down and threw it overboard after wrapping it in his ship's sail. It was never found.

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Roberts's death shocked the pirate world, as well as the Royal Navy. The local merchants and civilians had thought him invincible, and some considered him a hero.

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The battle continued for another two hours until Royal Fortune ' s mainmast fell and the pirates signaled for quarter. One member of the crew, John Philips, tried to reach the magazine with a lighted match to blow up the ship, but was prevented by two men. Only three pirates had been killed in the battle, including Roberts.

A total of men had been captured by the Royal Navy. Of these, 65 were black, and they were sold into slavery.

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The remainder were taken to Cape Coast Castle , apart from those who died on the voyage back. Another twenty were allowed to sign indentures with the Royal African Company ; Burl comments that they "exchanged an immediate death for a lingering one".

There were smaller numbers from northern England and from Wales, and another quarter from a variety of countries including Ireland, Scotland, the West Indies, the Netherlands, and Greece. Captain Chaloner Ogle was rewarded with a knighthood, the only British naval officer to be honoured specifically for his actions against pirates. This battle proved a turning point in the war against the pirates, [40] and many consider the death of Roberts to mark the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. The defeat of Roberts and the subsequent eradication of piracy off the coast of Africa represented a turning point in the slave trade and even in the larger history of capitalism.

Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment. Every man to be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes because, over and above their proper share, they were on these occasions allowed a shift of clothes: but if they defrauded the company to the value of a dollar in plate, jewels, or money, marooning was their punishment.

If the robbery was only betwixt one another, they contented themselves with slitting the ears and nose of him that was guilty, and set him on shore, not in an uninhabited place, but somewhere, where he was sure to encounter hardships.

A MERry Life

The lights and candles to be put out at eight o'clock at night: if any of the crew, after that hour still remained inclined for drinking, they were to do it on the open deck;. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he was to suffer death;.

To desert the ship or their quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning. No striking one another on board, but every man's quarrels to be ended on shore, at sword and pistol.


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No man to talk of breaking up their way of living, till each had shared one thousand pounds. If in order to this, any man should lose a limb, or become a cripple in their service, he was to have eight hundred dollars, out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately. The Captain and Quartermaster to receive two shares of a prize: the master , boatswain , and gunner , one share and a half, and other officers one and quarter. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath Day, but the other six days and nights, none without special favour. Most of the information on Roberts comes from the book A General History of the Pyrates , published a few years after Roberts' death.

The original title page credits one Captain Charles Johnson as the author. The book is often printed under the byline of Daniel Defoe on the assumption that "Charles Johnson" is a pseudonym , but there is no proof that Defoe is the author, and the matter remains in dispute.

Johnson devotes more space to Roberts than to any of the other pirates in his book, describing him as:. After his exploits in Newfoundland, a state Governor from New England commented that "one cannot with-hold admiration for his bravery and courage". Roberts was the archetypal pirate captain in his love of fine clothing and jewelry, but he had some traits unusual in a pirate, notably a preference for drinking tea rather than rum.

He is often described as a teetotaler and a Sabbatarian , but there is no proof of this. He certainly disliked drunkenness while at sea, yet it appears that he drank beer.

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The Sabbatarian claim arises from the fact that musicians were not obliged to play on the Sabbath — this may merely have been intended to ensure the musicians a day's rest, as they were otherwise obliged to play whenever the crew demanded. Roberts sometimes gave gifts to cooperative captains and crews of captured ships, such as pieces of jewelry or items of captured cargo. He would sometimes ill-use prisoners if he felt that the crew demanded it, but:.

When he found that rigour was not expected from his people for he often practised it to appease them , then he would give strangers to understand that it was pure inclination that induced him to a good treatment of them, and not any love or partiality to their persons; "For", says he, "there is none of you but will hang me, I know, whenever you can clinch me within your power.

In , a book was published that theorized Bartholomew Roberts was a woman transvestite. It was a master surgeon, him that ampytated me — out of college and all — Latin by the bucket, and what not; but he was hanged like a dog, and sun-dried like the rest, at Corso Castle. That was Roberts' men, that was, and comed of changing names of their ships — Royal Fortune and so on. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bartholomew Roberts. Bartholomew Roberts at Ouidah with his ship and captured merchantmen in the background. As Hari points out, the parallels to the events off the coast of Somalia are striking.

In the absence of a functioning national coast guard, the country has become prey for European commercial ships that fish illegally in Somali waters--or worse, use them as a dumping ground for toxic waste. Hari writes: "This is the context in which the 'pirates' have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a 'tax' on them.

They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia - and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent 'strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence'.


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  • Both then and now, as Rediker says in his introduction for Villains , sea piracy represents "a terror of the weak against the strong. Given those facts, one striking thought after reading these histories is how the use of the word "pirate" in an intellectual property context is an utter debasement of the term. The golden age pirates existed in opposition to the exploitative labor practices and social structure of the day. She must have prayed before a fountain. Manifest Destiny did not reward his honesty with much by way of offspring.

    But an honest philanderer nonetheless. Never told anyone the heads chopped of belonged to the bodies of bad single mothers. Senior civil servants got there, mostly, by being good at their jobs. That's how they got there, and that's what they do once there.

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    Elected politicians, in contrast, got there by being good at campaigning and winning elections. And, secondarily, by being good at fund raising. These have almost no skills in common with actually governing. So they are stressed when they are expected to do so, because it's not what they are actually good at. With a few rare exceptions who are actually good at both. Stress on the body shortens life. No surprise then when politicians who win high office lose physically as a result. Last sentence last paragraph should read: Never told anyone the heads chopped off belonged to the bodies of throw-aways.

    Sounds like politicians deserve what's coming especially the super-crooked ones. A most fair Faustian bargain. It's nature's way to impose term limits, when the constitution fails to. Venezuela, you are welcome! I don't know that when the system was created, it was a bad system at all. It was a good system. It sort of became weird when it got increasingly clogged by the number of - pardon me - "nonliberalarts" voters in it In that we are helpless in reversing the trend, I suppose we deserve what we've got. I don't have any disagreement at all with what you said here.. My point is the supposition that liberal arts major can't or don't go on to specialize in a field of their choice is wrong - for example, people continue from there to study Medicine, Law, or for those who are double-majors in undergrad, go on for advanced degrees in Engineering civil, electrical, mechanical , Material Science, Architecture, even MBA.

    In other words, liberal arts is just the start - the beginning of a beginning. I am not talking about some high-flown unified theory of solution to world's problems. I am talking about that is done all the time, all the time, all the time!!

    Bartholomew Roberts

    I wonder if the graph and conclusions from it will change if older candidates tend to win elections i. Evolutionary pressures on homo sapiens don't really play on longevity, but rather numbers of offspring and their offspring, etc. Here the problem is that we don't have good data on the numbers of children sired by philandering male politicians.