Friday, March 30, 2018

The Robin Hood of the High Seas

Captain Black Sam Bellamy is recorded to have said to a sailor who declined to join his pirate crew, “Damn ye, ye are a sneaking puppy, and so are all who admit to be governed by laws rich men have made for their own security, for the cowardly whelps have not the courage otherwise to defend what they get by their knavery.”

In February 1717, when he captured the Whydah and made it his flagship, he is said to have invited the captured sailors to join his crew with the words: “Ye miserable victims of the earth, who serve kings, princes and lords for a miserly pittance scarce big enough to keep body and soul together…They make their laws to rob thee … They banquet in the fine halls of their castles and mansions and leave ye to feed on the few crumbs and the gristle they cannot eat. To ye, I say I am no slave and as a free man I have the right to make war on them as they do me. To all of ye I say, make one with me against these vultures who look on us as swine and cattle.”

The captain of the sloop Bonita, captured in November 1716, testified that Bellamy’s pirates referred to themselves as “Robin Hood’s Men”, as if they were a band of maritime outlaws with contempt for the wealthy “scoundrels” in government.
“They rob the poor under the cover of law,” said Bellamy, “While we plunder the rich under the cover of our own courage.”
His style of captainship included letting his pirate crew vote on major decisions, and preferring to intimidate rather than fight ships into submission. Some say Bellamy never killed a man who surrendered.  

No comments: