In dark days such as this for the cause of Piracy and when the inevitable end of history in an all-Pirate society seems far away it is important to remember the great events of ’68. For a heady few months it seemed as though all the world was turning pirate- as though the end of history might come not with a whisper, but with a shouted sea-shanty of triumph!
For our younger readers, for whom those days are just tales told in hushed tones by their elders, it may be hard to believe how significant the events of 1668 seemed at the time.
Henry Morgan, one of the most famous priveteers of his day had set sail in command of a ship under the banner of an old sea salt by the name of Edward Mansfield. The were bound for the Carribean islands, then in the hands of the Spanish.
When the Spanish, a cruel and Popish race, had Manfield killed it was Henry Morgan who was chosen by the bucaneers as the new admiral. So successful was he in this post that he was sent by the Governor of Jamaica (an island then, as now, appreciative of the enterprise of Free Traders and makers of finest Pirate Rum) to take the town of Portobello on the coast of Panama.
Panama is a moist, unseemly country mostly known for the fine collection of malarial-based deaths which it offers. Nonetheless the ill-named town of Portobello was home to a fleet of ships scheming an attack on Jamaica. In the fateful year of 1668 Capt. Morgan sailed into Portobello and sacked the town.
Oh, glorious day that could see such sights in’t! Children left orphaned, woman huddled in the streets while their Landlubber menfolk were put to the sword. The streets ran wet with blood and rum as Captain Morgan and his Pirate fleet showed Panama and the world what a true Pirate victory over Landlubbers will look like.
Those who might argue that the great and self-evident benefits of a Pirate society could be achieved without the slaughter-housing of the innocent need only look at the events of ’68 to be shown up as the desultory incrementalists that they are.
Captain Morgan had no such doubts.
By ’71 his powers had grown further, and he fell upon Panama city itself, killing every soul within and making off with a hundred thousand-pound of booty (presumably in serried rows of stout teak chests).
Alas, this is where we Pirates who look to the inspiration of the events of ’68 and after must learn the lesson that the Landlubber powers will always seek to stab a true Pirate Captain in the back and push him off the end of a thin plank into Davy Jones’ Locker. The English, who had first paid for Captain Morgan to help them rid Jamacia of its dangerous Popish neighbors, became squeamish at the total victories he had won. It seems there were some Treaties which forbade the gutting and burning of innocent women and children.
The Captain escaped, as he argued that as a Pirate he knew naught of such Landlubber rules as this and returned to Jamaica, eventually becoming its Governor and ruling as a kind of Pirate King.
Despite this, he was never the same for his ordeal of being clapped in irons and shipped to the Court of the Landlubber English (a race which is well known for their droning tones and hatred of peg legs).
So the dreams of ’68 live on only in the hearts of Pirates today. But I think you’ll agree that they have much to teach us, or not teach us depending on how we read them. Certainly I wouldn’t dream of coming down either way, preferring long, rambling and ultimately pointless retreadings of fact.