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About modernknight1

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    Bilge Rat

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    Southern US
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    The Golden Age, History, Sailing, Arms and Armor, reenactment, Video Games, modding, Simulations and Simulators, writing
  1. Need some research help

    Well I'm glad to know I am welcome then. When I said no further debate, I didn't mean of the whole, but of the one point. Honestly how is debating the semantics and meaning of the words "pirate" and "piracy" helpful to scholarship in any way? How is further attempting to twist the meaning into defining it to tailor fit a specifically desired group in any way helpful to scholarship? If anything its misleading to most people and that's why I say further debate of the matter is pointless. We can be specific by defining the dates, events and people involved. I will also tell you what the difference is between a land bandit taking over a pirate ship versus a pirate on land taking a town. Both can fight and shoot. But only the pirate knows something about seamanship and is accustomed to life on the sea for lengthy periods. The land bandit might well be able to take the ship, but he would have no ability to do anything with it thereafter. It would be useless to him in furthering his aims. The men of both of these eras were conveyed on ships and knew something of seamanship. Concerning my desire to keep Barbary Pirates out of my book - it is for a couple of different reasons. While I have studied the English and Dutch Mediterranean actions against the Barbary pirates at some length, years more of study would be required to incorporate it into my current work. I would like to do something with the research I have collected someday, but not now. In addition, it falls outside of my scope because of two other reasons. 1) the time-frame of the Barbary/Moorish/Berber pirates go back several centuries before the period of study and continue on for two centuries after. I have not collected numbers of ships destroyed by year or prize data or gone after the resources for the Barbary states as I have the European powers of the Caribbean. I have not performed a comprehensive study of its notable captains and their individual actions and timeline during the same time-frame. I know a great deal and would be glad to debate anyone about my thoughts concerning a great many Barbary captains of the 15th thru 17th centuries and of the battles that were fought with them. Honestly I know way more about them than I do about the western pirates of the 1730s. However, they are out of scope for so many reasons. Goals of the Ottoman and Mameluk Califs, Sultan's of North African cities, Religion, the dramatically different types of vessels they used and alternative seamanship techniques, much different tactics and notably different weaponry. They are almost not of the same planet. However concerning Pirate captain X from 1670 and Pirate Captain Y from 1715 they haunted many of the exact same places, spoke the same languages, had the same religious faiths, used nearly identical weapons as very few advances had been made. They also used ships that looked and behaved VERY similar - including many that would have still survived the earlier timeframe and been sailing on the same seas. Granted the seaman of 1715 was probably using a wheel, but he would have still been familiar with tillers and whipstaffs which were still in wide spread use. The seamanship techniques were still the same. Same use of navigational instruments and almanacs/rutters. Heck even many of the same maps and charts from the 1670s/80s were still in wide use in 1715. Concerning the ongoing comparison that has emerged in our discussion between Blackbeard and Morgan, motivation is only part of the equation. Its the whole dimensions of human behavior I am looking at. You are right that anyone might have a desire to better their circumstances, however where I see the similarities between Morgan and Blackbeard or (Captain of ships from 1670 and Captain of ships from 1715), is that they are both quite willing to kill to get what they want. Just as only a fraction of the population now is willing to actually put their lives in harms way and rely on people like me to do that for them, not everyone in the age of piracy was willing to take the bold steps to go a rovin. To take this further - another very important similarity between the two men was leadership. Not only had these men taken the steps to travel to austere and dangerous places of hardship to better themselves, but these men became leaders. Not only did they lead, they lead some of the roughest characters of their times - Men who - if most people had to face them in a pub - would end up pissing themselves and hope they might get away from the encounter with their life - men that would think nothing of killing them IF it suited them, if they could get away with it, and if it would bring them some sort of benefit, or they saw you as some sort of threat. Both of these men led some of the toughest meanest lieutenants - although clearly from biography we know that Morgan led many more much dangerous men than Blackbeard ever did. They both led men that would challenge them constantly - if not verbally then by the look in their eyes. Anyone that's led men (and I've led some of the toughest there are) know what I am talking about. When those eyes meet yours, there is a brief moment of doubt that you are tough enough and good enough and smart enough to lead that group and perhaps the decision you've just made is not the best decision after all. Yet they had the energy and motivation to bring them through this daily. Only people with immense energy can do this day after day for months and years on end. It wears on a person. When I left my final command I never wanted to do it again, yet there were some of my peers that hungrily chased after more and more command time. Now I admit I sometimes miss it. Sometimes....not actually very often. Yes Morgan disobeyed the law. If we want to get technical, his attacks were completely illegal. He disobeyed orders to defend Jamaica from Pardal and abandoned his post. His is guilty of dereliction of duty and failure to obey orders. He will be court marshaled and stripped of all titles and hung.... - wait, you say he took a bunch of Spanish loot on that last trip and brought it home to Jamaica. You say he still has a whole bunch more stashed away and is willing to share it with the crown and buy some positions for his friends? How much does he have??? XXXXXXXX OH WELL!!! We shall have to consider giving him a knighthood then. What? You say that he has a whole bunch of captain friends that are pretty unsavory fellows that do whatever they want and seize Spanish prizes in time of peace and have even been known to take English ships???? Did he know they were doing that? Was he in command of them at the time??? He was? Oh dear me..... Hmmmm, how much gold did you say he had again? XXXXXXXXX OK then, we will forgive the whole lot of em! He is now SIR Henry Morgan! Myngs actions were blatantly illegal. Known fact. The Spaniards demanded his arrest and extradition as "an enemy of the human race". What did the English do??? Made him an Admiral. HA! Certainly the VAST majority of De Graff's acts and his captains were completely and totally "illegal". Also I think this focus on land is somewhat misplaced when we look at all of the available resources documenting the numbers of prizes these mid to late 17th century captains took. What we have is certainly a fraction of a whole amount that we can't document. But we can draw solid conclusions and to an extent perform some predictive analysis(of things that happened long ago - I know it sounds funny but it can be done). Certainly in terms of cumulative tonnages, the "pirate" captains of the 17th century have the Late Golden Age bunch beat by a long shot. The Zeerovers alone who if one wants to put a quid-pro-quo of legality on them of - (they probably didn't seize and take very many Dutch prizes so they are not pirates - even though they took other countries ships which Holland wasn't at war with), they brought back immense tonnages - sure we don't know the whole amounts but we know enough to be dangerous with numbers. Concerning my charts, I am using an analytic computational model/simulation (would rather not say which). I have programed it with thousands of data points and for months and years I am missing data, my model will fill in the gaps based on preceding and following data interpolation. This is why I am so interested in insurance records and in reports back to Governors and Ministers concerning loss or tonnages shipped. So much data available that no one has bothered collecting before. The non-English speaking archives are full of it and very few people have bothered looking. Not only do I have excellent what I call "victim data", but I have collected "aggressor" data as well. I have excellent trade tonnage data for several nations by year for many nations. While many will say that much of the data will be invalid because I am missing too many data points, the exciting thing about this analysis is that I CAN track noticeable downward loss trends in shipping by year that when looked at within the whole are very analytically viable. For the Pirate social networking graph I have simply filled in the blanks based on known biographical information available from MANY sources to illustrate the common connections. Your points on the whole "Morgan and Bartholomew" thing are completely valid and I smiled and sighed when I heard it in the movie theater LOL. I have heard a lot of other things from the young game players on my site that often give me a chuckle. I have completely refused to put any Pirates of the Caribbean characters or ships into my game world. So no one is going to challenge me on Morgan then?... I thought someone here might be a purist. I do indeed have several French sources stating what I said, however I think it is probably a different Henry Morgan. One old French lady is insistent though that Morgan came to Tortuga from Barbados and by claiming to be a surgeon was relieved of his indenture by the Brethren who paid the note to Mr Townsend. Still it is worth noting the commentary and sources in the book as a possible early life path - Morgan has many. I thought someone might fire grapeshot at me. That's OK. You seem to be a civil bunch here which is one of the reasons I finally came out of the dark. Been checking out things here since 2011 and joined in 2013. MK
  2. Need some research help

    One thing that I will add is that anyone asking me for the source on Morgan's beginnings will have to wait for the book. I'm sorry. I probably shouldn't have dropped such a nugget - although maybe it will make some people drool.... unless you want to go to the Sorbonne and other French archives to find it yourself. He seems to have been quite embarrassed by his beginnings and while he may have been able to ensure that nothing unsavory was mentioned in English sources, he couldn't do so regarding the French records. I think he may have also wished to disassociate himself with Tortuga as well which I find very amusing.
  3. Need some research help

    I appreciate the response Dr. Fox, but it is what I expected. It seems only in English do we split hairs so. Fodder for a Monte Python sketch I think. I am near fluent in German and respectable in both French and Spanish. In addition I took years of Latin and read at an adept level. Language is a tool to describe something. When words seize to describe what they were intended to describe, people will naturally adapt the words to describe what is necessary. This is one of the primary reasons that English has become such a mutated Heinz57 language (especially in the last century). Other languages often add descriptive parts to the word to give them more specific meaning but the root remains the same and holds the same meaning. I understand a pirate to be someone who attacks other ships at sea and takes what they wish. If that pirate decides to attack a town on the coast and its easier to leave the ship in order to do so, he does not put on a different hat and suddenly and magically change into a bandit or brigand during said attack - he is still the pirate AND a bandit and a brigand as well. Even wikepedia says that the term piracy "can include acts committed in the air, on land (especially across national borders or in connection with taking over and robbing a car or train), or in other major bodies of water or on a shore". Nor do its roots of origin try to apply particular specificity of use restricted to land or sea: (Latin: pirata ("sailor, corsair, sea robber") and that from Greek πειρατής (peiratēs), "brigand". So I will chose to (as many others do) not to religiously follow Noah Webster in all things. IMHO the term Buccaneer has become a badly misconstrued word that no longer even closely resembles the originally intended meaning and has come to cover a large time-frame and group of people that had nothing to do with the original French cattle skinners. There are so many names for the groups of "pirates" who lived and acted during the 17th century - Zeerovers, filibusters, vrijbuiters, corsaires, picaroons, etc, that quite frankly what I have come to realize is that the English use of Buccaneer to describe them all and to try to adhere general conventions to them or a "usual pattern of buccaneering practice" upon them is not only inaccurate, but I believe to be somewhat sloppy modern scholarship and is just widely accepted as fine and dandy - when I could never get away with such over-generalization in other areas of more academically focused and popular historical study. As much as I don't like Blackbeard or his comparison to Morgan, an examination of the two mens motivations and experiences make them far more similar than different. If Blackbeard had lived in the Jamaica of Morgan's time I have no doubt that he would have become one of the ladder climbers looking to better his conditions. If one just looks at Blackbeard's late career and his cavorting with merchants and governors - Trying to obtain a more permanent home, a more legitimate wife, and higher station in life, he suddenly begins through a misty fog to resemble Morgan a little. After all Morgan started as nothing but an indentured servant and surgeon - but the times were different, the opportunities far greater, Morgan was in the right place at the right time - and I believe Morgan was a little smarter. I am not going to debate any further on the matter but I have just three other things I want to address. First, commissions and letters of marque, second my opinion on L'Ollinais and last, an additional question for this group. Concerning L'Ollinais, I of course reject that there was a standard Buccaneering practice of seeking patents, commissions or Letters of Marque during this era with an exception being with Englishmen of the time and place. In my book I have an entire chapter dedicated to Corruption. I also have an entire chapter dedicated to Commissions, Orders and Letters of Marque. I don't want to get too deep into this here, but my digging into archives have produced some interesting observations. I'm not the first to look into this and have followed in the footsteps of Dr. Virginia W. Lunsford on some of these areas. One of these items of interest is that the Dutch "rederijnen" commissions were granted not from governments but by companies or bands of gentlemen merchant owners. In addition, the Dutch Republic granted general commissions in time of war "commissie van retorie" that allowed open season on enemies and were not specific to individual captains - nor did they require a percentage of return to the government. Granted, this sometimes varied as the Dutch were divided into multiple Admiralties (think of this in terms of the United States and some of the commissions being granted at state level rather than federal). The French with some noted exceptions, largely followed this Dutch model as they did with a great deal of other things maritime during this era. I have also followed the work of Karl F. Marx in reviewing Spanish corruption of the era. Spanish corruption was rampant and they took major (and often rediculous) steps to curtail it. Ships would sometime set in harbor for weeks not allowing a single person to debark until the customs officials went through the duplicates of the ships inventories piece by piece. The Spanish crown wanted their cut of the profits from privateer prizes. However, Spanish corruption pales next to the out of control English corruption of the time. A good thorough reading of Pepys diaries alone, shows the corruption that he was up against. The letter of marque granted by English governors were often very specific about what percentages went back to the Governor. Also under the navigation acts vessels were forced to seek harbor inspections at places completely off their routes in order for the government to collect additional fees. Imagine having to take a prize all the way to London which you had captured in Trinidad and then bring it all the way back to the Governor of Jamaica! Unbelievable! So this document was useful to the English "buccaneer" to prove some legitimacy, but I contend was almost more of an IOU than a protection. In addition a look at the English buccaneers of the time shows so many ladder climbers. They wanted to do well so that they would be promoted and given real commissions and possibly admitted to the governing council. They wanted to buy land on Jamaica and become wealthy important men with standing. This was often their motivation and why they went "a roving" and I literally illustrate over a dozen examples of this phenomena in my book. The motivations of many of the non-English actors were not nearly as grandiose or legitimate - so the archetypal "buccaneer" we so often think about and iconically illustrated in the game Sid Meiers Pirates - gaining the governors daughter in marriage, a title of Count and 500 acres of land on X island is so overly exaggerated it belongs right up there with ARRRR, and tri-corn hats with skulls and crossbones decal-ed on their fronts. It is no wonder to me that Dutch "zeerovers"/privateers brought English commerce to such a screeching halt during the Anglo-Dutch wars seizing fully over two thirds of all English merchant ships of the time and reaping great rewards for themselves without having to return much of the proceeds to the government. They were everywhere. This is something that most people just don't know about and there are only a handful of scholarly books on the subject in English (all of which I own). Lets look at the Tortuga of L'Ollinais' time. The Brethren of the Coast had literally taken it back from the Spaniards. The "Governor" of the island - if you can even call him that, D'ogeron was a representative of the French West India Company. His entire time in position he desperately sought approval and legitimacy from the the very pirates he was trying to govern. Many did not accept him and openly mocked him. He tried unsuccessfully I might add to eject Dutch zeerovers from the island and encourage the French pirates to help him in this. He encouraged them not to go with the Dutch captains - but they did anyway. DeGraff's ranks were swelled by these same Dutch and French twenty years later during his attack on Vera Cruz. D'Ogeron would have been cow-towing and kissing L'Ollinais' keister who was one of (if not THE most) respected and feared men on the island. L'Ollinais would have likely blown his nose on any document D'Ogeron gave him and the governor would have thanked him. Many of the Frenchman in L'Ollinais crew were either displaced Hugenots or the sons and grandsons of displaced Hugenots. These rejected French protestants thrown out of their own country with many relatives massacred by that same government for over a century had a gigantic reputation in the Caribbean of the time. They had been responsible for the sackings of many Spanish new world cities a century before and were still feared and respected. These Hugenots would not have had any respect whatsoever for either the French West India Company, the French government/monarchy or the Governor sent there to attempt building an organized administration. One of the reasons many of the French attacks on Spanish ships and cities were so brutal was the searing hatred of so many of these hugenots against Catholics. As an aside I find it amusing that Morgan started his career as an indentured servant on this same island and went to sea as a surgeon here. He also attempted to bring some order and organization to the first men he commanded from there - largely unsuccessfully. As another aside I find it both fascinating and amusing that the Governor of the islands was not given any respect or legitimacy until he brought in wives for the pirates there and began placing hundreds of colonists into owned plots of granted personal property. If you want some additional fun reading look into the history of the Governor's of Tortuga being arrested by the crown. It happened more than once. Last, I really would like to understand why there is this attitude towards (men aboard ships who took stuff from other people while operating from ships) for so many different reasons during the 17th century vice an observed favoritism of (men aboard ships who took stuff from other people while operating from ships) a few decades later --- embodied in this kind of statement: "Enough of these lousy Buccaneers, let's get back to some pirate discussions!" After lurking around here for several years, do I just not belong here? Is this a place only for hobbyists into the Nassau and New Providence of 1715? If so I will go back to quietly lurking. Finally, Dr. Fox Sir. I am in no way meaning to quibble with you Sir. I actually own some of your books and especially enjoyed the commentary in Pirates in their own Words. What has become very evident to me is that there seems to be a divide here and I frankly think it's somewhat silly. My book in some respects attempts to better bridge these multiple time-frames together to illustrate a much greater deal of commonality than I think most average Joes, neophytes, hobbyists, and even some scholars accept or realize. I do this especially through examining and illustrating the mostly neglected non-English players. I know there are probably a lot of people who don't take me seriously because of all of my dabbling with video games, but that is merely another hobby that I use to blow off steam and it keeps my passion for the subject hot. I feel like my gaming pursuits educate a lot of youth that would never have exposure to the subject otherwise. Many of these youth have e-mailed me telling me so. If you're unfamiliar with my gaming development head over to my little niche web-site and have a look. Don't judge me or make fun of me too badly please. I do have a thick skin but also a heart in there too. Still looking for more sources for the post 1726 through the 1730s. This is the last time I will ask though. Thanks, MK
  4. Need some research help

    You are completely missing my point and splitting hairs with a very poor example. As I said, the specific acts are what define the label. In your example - The act of the Dutch at that specific time was certainly piratical and illegal. Were they piratical in XX percent of actions they took? No. Using this example further, if I were to collect a sample size of this players actions (In your case you want to use undefined specific Dutch navy-men (not specifically named and known individuals who have a record of historic actions that we can measure) the sample size would be in the hundreds of thousands because we know that there were hundreds of thousands of Dutch personnel serving in the Dutch navy during the age of piracy. So the Dutch navy based upon the known and collected actions of individual sailors who committed piratical acts during X time-frame are .0001 piratical. If I were trying to make that point then it would be fruitless. However if I take the example of Morgan or Myngs above and start applying the same logic then I can get a very dramatic percentage of piratical vs sanctioned activities. No one to my knowledge has ever taken that approach before. They simply label based on their own subjective bias and so people endlessly argue about it. My book will be popular with intelligent people interested in taking a different look at the subject and especially a good look at the neglected non-English players. I am not interested in impressing snobby scholars. I actually won the Southern History conference with a paper one year. The ridiculous petty attacks from some of the people who did not agree with my thesis were unforgetable and then to have one of them actually steal most of my research and write his own book - well laughable. One of my mentors a retired Marine General predicted it would happen if I didn't try to publish first. He was right. Another of my mentors (History professor) who has won some very prestigious awards for several books said I should only write about what I was interested in and as long as I could support my arguments with solid logic and resources, that I should "not worry about what the peanut gallery had to say." Those that are interested in actually learning something new about the non-English actors might actually benefit from reading. Another major audience is senior executive leadership. The leadership aspects in so many specific situations explored in the book will make it popular with both mid-level/senior level business/corporate folks and military people. These kinds of books sell like hot-cakes in airport bookstores. Although I must say, I am not writing this for money. So gents I am looking for a little help here, not criticism of the book before its even published. I have thick skin so if constructive criticism of my approach and method is the only thing that is offered here then that's just fine - I will certainly read it, note it....and then move on in continuing my search for the information I require to finish - in whatever direction I need to take. MK
  5. Need some research help

    Thank you very much for the sources. This is exactly the kind of thing I am looking for. Now a few more activities like these and perhaps some others from non-English sources and I might have something for the post 1726 time-frame to wrap things up. I have tried to gather a majority of non-English sources for my research. So first of all let me tell you that I am taking a rather different approach to the subject than others have. If I weren't, there would be no reason for me to write the book because so much has already been written on the subject. I myself possess quite an extensive private library and I have amassed and devoured dozens of books on the subject already. First I will say that I am somewhat annoyed by modern scholarship's attempts to classify and rigidly define the people and actions of the mid/late 17th century as generally nationally motivated. My thesis runs counter to this and I prove it. There are just way too many different people in that time/place with so many different motivations behind their actions to make an absolute classification. Certainly nationally sanctioned privateering was ONE important in-road but was far from being the only one. I will not attribute the expected absolute values or titles on people or normally assigned definitions of action that many are so used to. I am focusing on each individual situation, the human behavior and the subsequent individual actions. Why did X pirate take Y ship? In addition, as a retired US Army Colonel, I want to explore the leadership aspect in this equation in as much depth as the resources allow - with perhaps some hunches based on what I would have done in those often stressful situations. So given this I am not falling into a trap of saying that land based actions are not considered piracy. By who? By modern academicians? Don't care. It's not that I don't respect modern scholarship. I have an MA in history myself and had to do all of the usual and expected hunting for primary and secondary sources to support my various thesis. I respect convention when it is of value or applicable. In this case I do not find many of the definitions applicable to such extrordinary people and events. So I will not follow the usual rules. So rather than caring that scholars might classify the attack as a bandit attack, I will rather rely on what the Spaniards have to tell me about the event - that were actually there and had their lives completely ruined - and defined said attacks and the actions of the antagonists in the reports back to the Governors as "Pirate attacks" - YES. My litmus test is the old "if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, its a _____" No if we are talking about highwaymen or banditry who normally attack things on land, then yes OK - they are bandits. However, in the case of pirates whose motivations were to gain plunder, transported themselves by ship to their destinations - attacked by land and/or sea a town/city - and then made off with the wealth of the place once again in their ships - I consider the motivation of the event. Again - situation and motivation. Could be nationally motivated or piratical and some participants might have altogether different motivations - impressing someone for instance or searing hatred. So Morgan was used as an example. OK I'll bite. Was everything Morgan did of a nationalistic (supporting England) privateering nature? Was everything done by Morgan piracy? NO to both questions and "sometimes" for both. Consider some of the attacks which were not only NOT condoned by the English government but also that if Morgan had been following orders, he would have stayed and protected Jamaica from the (imagined or real) threat of Pardal - NOT galavanting off to sack cities. Also when we look at Morgan's captains during different actions were they all Englishmen with letters of marque? Not only no but HELL no. Did they only work for Morgan or did they often work solo or for other notable great captains? Were those Dutch and French captains working for Morgan at the time desirous of supporting English interests? (One I know of was a ladder climber [Lawrence Prince/Laurens Prinz], so in his case possibly), for the others - no - they were interested in plunder - plain and simple. Did the act benefit England in the end? Certainly. Did it help others. Certainly France and Holland didn't mind if Spain was weakened. We know that the future illustrious Admiral Sir Christopher Myngs also did not follow orders, attacking Spanish ships in time of peace and with warrants for his arrest issued by the Governor of Jamaica. Was he a pirate or a privateer when that occurred? Did Morgan's primary lieutenants always work for Morgan and possess letters of marque? Collier did work mostly for Morgan but he had other ventures as well. Was Searle's attack on St. Augustine sanctioned by Morgan? Heck Morgan sent his own captains after well known Englishmen who at one time or another were legit English privateers. Beeston and Spragge's expedition after John Coxon is a good example and only one of many. Morgan seems to be the best known for the era in question, but I think this is only because so much has been written about him and he was English(Welsh) so all the (low hanging fruit) sources are so easily available. I have been writing this book for almost a decade now and have collected a great many sources NOT in English. In fact one of the primary goals of my book is to relate the most complete narrative possible of the careers of the NON-English players that are so often overlooked. L'Ollinais was mentioned below with an excellent question. Did L'Ollinais care about having a letter of marque or serving France? Certainly he did help France - and as part of the Brethren many of his captains were instrumental in the defense of "the Two Tortugas" against the Spaniards. However, from my examination of the man I don't think he gave didly-squat about a letter of marque. "Letters of Marque? - we don't need no stinkin Letters of marque um I mean badges." He HATED Spaniards! Unlike other legends, his are not mere exaggeration. Perhaps eating Spaniard's hearts is a little over the top, maybe just one man's heart was required to get the ball rolling? However, killing entire crews of Spaniards and sending a letter to the Spanish governor stating that any Spanish ships sailing through HIS waters would suffer the same fate shows a true motivation of sheer hatred. THAT was HIS motivation and as long as he kept his subordinate captains happy with plunder then he could continue with his marauding lifestyle for as long as he wished. (Montbars the Exterminator is another good example of the independent French hater) Did he have a retirement plan? Was he thinking about the future? Was there an end-state or was he just taking things as they came? These are the kinds of things I attempt to get at in the book. When sources are lacking then yes I am committing scholarly sacrilege by applying some best guess heuristics to the equation. However, I will always let the reader know when I am taking this liberty. The Frenchman are some interesting characters during this time. Several were noblemen that fervently desired and chose the sea as a career. We are not just talking about the impoverished noble seeking his fortune so popular in fiction(and yes there are several real people in this category). In one instance we are talking about a man who was already wealthy and sold his lands and titles to purchase, equip, man and train a formidable man of war. And BTW he didn't always have a letter of mark or serve the interests of France when he flew the black from the tafferel of the Cybille. Cassard is another interesting character. Certainly his interests were completely and totally for King and Country and he was clearly and ALWAYS a privateer. However, in many of his actions, buccaneers were a major part of his force. In the case of his seizure of Curacao in 1713, he didn't even call upon the buccaneers. They heard he was on the hunt and they came to join him. This wasn't for plunder alone in this case. Cassard was a great and charismatic leader who had shown immense bravery witnessed by the buccaneers previously - when he was the first into the breach under heavy fire at Santo Domingo. They came as much for the plunder as for the confidence in the leader of the endeavor. My book will also take a closer look at the many notable Dutch pirates than any other book currently available. IMHO Laurens de Graff needs to finally get credit for his illustrious career and boy have I dug up some dirt! Was de Graff interested in letters of marque? I have found mentions of them from the French, but did he care about having them? I don't think so. Did he work for the Dutch and help their interests? No he didn't however, most of his captains were Hollanders. Also of interest is that the occasional Dutch prize was on the menu. The Dutch and Spanish were allies for much of the last half of the 17th century. We know that De Graff's preferred quarry was Spanish prizes. But we also know he used the Dutch free haven of Curacao to make repairs. Here we have "Laurencillo" the Terrible being welcomed and freely allowed to repair his ships (several including his flagship [the galleon San Fransisco/renamed Neptuno] which had been violently taken from the Governor of Cartegena) within the bustling fortified Dutch/WIC port of Willemstad. De Graff's raid on Vera Cruz in 1683 (the gold loading center for the Spanish Flotas (treasure fleets) is one of the great piratical acts of history. It would be like a modern organized group of thieves robbing Fort Knox. If I can't effectively find, follow, and take the treasure fleet, then I will attack the place where it will be loaded. Was DeGraff under orders from any particular national interest when he made the attack? No. What was his motivation? Why did Nicholas Van Hoorn tangle with De Graff during this time? Did De Graff intend to do him harm? Was the argument over the splitting of loot? Does anybody really think this was not a pirate attack??? Seriously? I explore all of these questions in depth. Did de Graff's many captains have letters of marque for the attack on Vera Cruz? No they didn't. Did they possess letters of marque at any time in their careers? Oh yes at one time or another some did and a few also worked for other very notable names. Yes De Graff did often help the French and haunted the French backwater ports where he had many friends, but truly he is one of those pirates that can honestly be called a pirate(buccaneer if you like) and was truly sailing "against all flags". I am also taking a fairly good look at the Spanish pirates as well and their depredations against their own countrymen. Obviously (with some rare exceptions that decided to work for another side), in general they did not possess letters of marque because their usual motivation was Spanish loot. There are always exceptions. Juan Corso was a legitimate privateer for the Spaniards, but could not resist going after English merchantmen in time of peace. We know he hated Englishmen and reveled in killing them. Dieggo Grillo "El Mullatto" is another good example (and one that is very racially motivated) in that he hated his Spanish masters and when the opportunity arose, took to piracy out of resentment and revenge. I dug a lot here trying to find others like him. I'm certain there is a resource somewhere telling of others but Grillo's success is what made him notable. With all of the rebellions and revolts that there were, there had to be others that were not successful but the events have been lost to time. Insert creaking swinging rope sound from gallows here. I did find two interesting anecdotes of slaves stealing a ship and another where they rose up and took it by force from the crew, but in both cases they wrecked the ships. Another thing I find completely fascinating about this time and its people are the connections. I have made another chart that illustrates the connections of all of these notable captains and when they crossed paths all the way to 1726. (like a 17th/early 18th century Linked-In connection page) Its so fascinating to look at where some of them ended up who started out with a completely different group of friends and different nationality at their beginnings. Its also amazing how many intersecting connections they have with one another - especially over time from generation to generation. It is literally a very busy tapestry that one would never on the surface expect to be so intertwined and complex. The book is about 90 percent complete. I am still trying to round up some additional resources for a few points and of course the incomplete area I asked about. In addition I am still running down permission to use a bunch of various illustrations and it is taking a really long time to get permission for some of these paintings. I am getting new recent help in the process though. Anything of value that you mates might have to add would be very appreciated and I will list you in the bibliography and credits if you wish to add commentary to any of the specific sources you provide. The 1730's are an admitted weak point within my BOK (Body of Knowledge) with the exception of land conflict on the European continent. Hope you don't mind reading such a wall of text but my mind goes a thousand miles an hour and I write fast. Thanks again for any incite or help with resources. I will be traveling a lot the next two weeks so may not answer back right away. MK
  6. Need some research help

    Ladies and Gentlemen I am writing a book on piracy and have developed an analytical graph showing piratical activity with some additional bell curves thrown in illustrating increases in certain types of trading by different maritime countries over time - beginning in the 1620s. The piratical activity graph line peaks in the late 1670s/early 1680s and then another smaller peak occurs from the mid 1690s to 1715. So we know that the last notable acts of piracy committed by notable and known pirates occurred in 1725-26. We also know that the pirates last major refuges were gone by 1719 and the ones left were forced to become "rounders" haunting the west African backwaters like the Kingdom of Whydah, but what do we know about the few that continued on??? We know that employment for honest seamen in the late 1720s into the 1730s was on an amazing rise from what it had been and that ship-building boomed on the Atlantic coast ensuring plenty of work. We know that naval presence also increased in the Americas and that privateering was at a low point because no one was at war until the War of Jenkins Ear starting in 1739. SO....What I want to know is: Have any of you here happened onto names, places, ships, actions, activities, insurance, harbor or lading documents, criminal trial documents, death warrants or execution proceedings - PROVING piratical actions after 1726 and at anytime during the 1730s before the War of Jenkin's Ear? I desperately want to know who these men were. Were there merchant captains that lost perishable cargoes and saw an easy target that could make up the loss and no one on their crew would tell? Were there some places in remote corners in Africa where some of these small time hold outs were able to act and achieve any sort of fame, wealth, or even just a living for their ship and crew? Who were the pirates that still existed in the 1730s? ....and what were their motives for piracy? Please tell me. I desperately want to know so that I can complete my chart and even possibly have some additional material for the end of this period in the book. Thank you in advance. MK EDIT: I am not interested in Mediterranean or Barbary piracy - only Caribbean/West Indies/Brazil, West African, or East Indies examples.
  7. some 17th Century help

    For arguments sake I actually believe the Dutch navy during the Third Anglo-Dutch War was indeed superior to the English navy at this time. I believe that if the Dutch Navy had only had to face the English alone - and NOT the English and French navies combined, the English would have clearly lost. I believe this for several reasons: 1. The English were in a bad way going into the 1670s. London had burned and was still being rebuilt. They were still recovering from the last great plague. Many English seamen had gone over to the Dutch because the English navy did not have a good reputation for making good on salary, payments or money's owed. In fact a known anecdote from after the famous debacle at the Battle of the Medway (1667) after a month long blockade of the Thames, the Dutch raided up the river and landed 800 marines (a new thing at that time) burned the Royal dockyards at Chatham, burned a goodly portion of the laid up English navy capital ships and towed the 1st Rate flagship (Royal Charles) back to Amsterdam - that English sailors were noted on the Dutch ships for chanting as they sailed away, "No more worthless English tickets, we work for Dutch dollars now". That act forced the end of the Second Dutch War and the Treaty of Breda. Dutch privateering was also devastating on the English economy at the time. This combined with the previous defeat at the Four Days Battle of 1666,'_Battle(where three of England's admirals were killed) put the English navy in a sorry state. The Dutch had 25,000 trading ships globally in the 1660s. Lord Clarendon bitterly complained to parliament that action needed to happen in order to narrow the trade gap. He convinced King Charles to start building more merchantmen but by the time the war started they still only had a fraction with under 4,000 ships globally. Clarendon also instigated the Navigation Acts which penalized English merchants for carrying in Dutch ships and caused higher inspection, lading and harbor fees to be incurred on Dutch ships. By the end of the 2nd Dutch war, some estimates put the number of English trading ships at below 1,500. The English desperately sought to damage Dutch trade as well with Sir Robert Holmes famous raid on Terschelling (Holmes' Bonfire) where he burned 150 Dutch merchant ships. He also tried to seize the returning Dutch Mediterranean/Smyrna merchant fleet but was unsuccessful. Bottom line: The English were bankrupt pure and simple. They could neither build or man a fleet at the end of the war. 2. Ironically loans from Dutch bankers and Charles secret Treaty of Dover (1670) where he secretly became Catholic to secure loans and a French alliance against the Dutch were the only things that allowed him to rebuild and re-man the English fleet. Although much of the English fleet was new, so was the Dutch fleet which had been enjoying DeWitt's sweeping naval reforms. By 1672 barely enough time had occurred to properly train the English fleet. The Dutch on the other hand were mostly trained veterans at the outset of the war. 3. Leadership: Many of the Dutch admirals and captains were promoted on merit and came from meager common beginnings - DeRuyter and Kortenauer both being good examples of this. While there were others that came from the aristocracy and landed gentry they were not in the majority. Whereas in England all of the Admirals but one (Spragge) were from the gentry. Spragge although an Irishmen who was resented for being a "pirate" earlier in life and opposing many English officers during the FIrst Dutch war was hotheaded. He was an excellent naval officer and commander, but his personal vandetta against Admiral Tromp caused him to make numerous mistakes over several battles and eventually cost him his life. Most of the English leaders were not skilled naval men as we would see in the excellent British navy of a century later. Most had been army officers and did not know much about actual seamanship. This always gave the Dutch a large advantage throughout these wars because most of the Dutch commanders were skilled in seamanship from a young age. 4. Guns: DeWitt and DeRuyter had ensured that most of the Dutch Capital ships of the Confederate fleet were equipped with bronze guns - and with 36 pounders on the lower decks. The English on the otherhand were equipped primarily with iron guns. While many of the capital ships had 32 pounders on the lower decks the most common large English gun was the 24 pounder and they usually had smaller 6 to 9 pounder ordinance on the decks above. Iron needed more rest time because iron guns failed more often(blew up). while Bronze does heat up a little faster, it does not foul or fail catastrophically requiring less rest time between volleys. Many historians have talked about the English having more guns during the battles of the 2nd and 3rd Dutch wars, however most never consider that the Dutch while having fewer guns had larger and better guns. Myself being a retired senior US Army artillery officer have always thought this is a major consideration and is almost always overlooked by historians. After the crushing defeat at the Battle of Beveziers (Beachy Head) where the English and Dutch were allies against the French (with the same Dutch King on the English throne: William III) the English navy had to be rebuilt yet again. This rebuilding occurred largely under a Dutch model of administration and completely through Dutch bank loans. It can be said that the lessons which were learned in the Dutch wars and the subsequent reforms under a new Dutch administration - were what caused the British Navy to become the greatest power on earth in the following century. The two countries destinies have been inextricably intertwined for centuries but often the Dutch don't get the credit due to their contributions to/ for Britain's later glory.
  8. some 17th Century help

    I respectfully disagree that the Dutch did not inflict defeats on the English during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. On the contrary, most of the battles of the war were Dutch victories. Also Dutch privateers were immensely effective against English commerce at home and abroad. Over 500 prizes were brought into Amsterdam alone during a two year time-frame. The only reason the Battle of Solebay wasn't a complete disaster for the English and French was because the wind shifted halfway through the battle giving the allies "the weather gauge". The Dutch were significantly outnumbered (as usual) and while the battle was tactically indecisive, it was a strategic victory. The English also lost a 1st rate flagship the Royal James and their admiral Lord Edward Montegu 1st Earl of Sandwich was killed. The allied plan to blockade the Dutch was completely thwarted and the allied fleets forced to retire. The Battle of the Double Schooneveld was one of DeRuyter's most brilliant victories. Yeah maybe no ships were lost, but DeRuyter was again facing the combined allied English and French navies at the same time and was significantly outnumbered in this battle. The English made a lot of mistakes and DeRuyter showed his tactical brilliance. The Dutch broke the allied blockade and the allied fleets were driven from Dutch waters once again, the battle concluding off the English coast. The English navy was badly damaged. At the Battle of the Texel, a similar beginning occurred with the Dutch significantly outnumbered again. Although no significant ships were lost it was still a major strategic victory for the Dutch. The English and French navies were again driven off. No ships may have been lost but the casualties were high on the allied side with over 3,000 dead. If the English had won this battle it would have been over for the Netherlands as a sovereign country. This battle prevented the English from landing their army to assist the French who already occupied half of the Netherlands. It also allowed the Dutch VOC East India fleet to safely enter home ports. Protecting the spice fleet was essential for continued funding of the war as the French attacks and occupation had been financially ruinous for the Dutch. This battle was the final allied gamble and they lost. The French fearing German and Spanish invasion withdrew from Holland and the Treaty of Westminster ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War/Franco-Dutch War. DeRuyter essentially saved his homeland with this final battle. I suppose if you meant by defeat - a "tactical" defeat where one side was the clear winner over the other with much more damage and losses inflicted on one side, then I agree. However, there were only a few battles in the entire Anglo-Dutch wars that we can classify as decisive tactical defeats in that sense. The English enjoyed most of those tactical victories in the First Anglo-Dutch War and then there was of course The Battle of Lowestoft in the Second Anglo-Dutch war which was a great English victory and CRUSHING Dutch defeat - probably the worst of all the battles during those wars. MK
  9. Cruise ship fun!

    Jib, I just got back from a cruise last week. It was a 10 day cruise to the Dutch Antilles which stopped at Turks on the way back(where we also went snorkeling over a coral reef which was awesome!). It was my very first cruise. I have done a fair share of sailing and I love it, but nothing beats the pampering and fun of cruising. The entertainment was fantastic and I had a blast! I am hooked. I did use the trip as an excuse to go on a historical scavenger hunt for the Forts of Curacao. I've studied the Dutch colonial islands (both East and West Indies) for years and have amassed quite a collection of historic maps. So instead of going shopping and diving, I went hunting for history. I had so much fun that I have already planned another cruise for September. It will be leaving from San Juan. I plan to fly into San Juan a few days early because I have a long list of historical places to take a look at. This cruise is going from there to St. Maarten, St. Kitts and the BVI on the way back. I can hardly wait. Here's the article I wrote up on my visit to Curacao and its history. MK
  10. Michiel de Ruyter film

    Jib, I've seen the film and while far from historically accurate it is VERY good. I am big time into Dutch maritime history and the Golden Age so this movie was a high point of my year. Although I was a bit disappointed, I was still very happy that someone finally made a movie about this time in history and this particular subject matter. It might not be historically accurate in many areas but totally has the right look and feel - and it is very entertaining. I was hoping to see it in the States as well and have several of the movie alert services qued to tell me if it shows up in any American theaters. Haven't had even one alert yet even though the film was supposed to be released for American audiences last month. I would even travel hundreds of miles to see it in a different city. I've been keeping track of it for quite some time. I wrote an article on it on my website with all of the trailers available: After I saw the movie I wrote a detailed review on my website covering all of the good points, bad points and inaccuracies: I hope its ok to post links here. I've only ever been a periodic lurker around here. If not OK just please delete the post. MK