Ronald Haines, Author

Immerse Yourself in the Adventure and Romance of Historical Fiction

Category: Historical

General historical

Anne Bonny and Existential Angst

The last conversation between pirates Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham:

“I’m so sorry to see you here, Jack.” Anne fought back her tears.  “Why did you let them capture us?  Wouldn’t it have been better to fight?  You might have won, and even if you didn’t you could have died like a man instead of like,” she sobbed.  “Like this.”

“Death is death, Anne. It matters little to me how it comes about, but this way you and Mary have a chance.  I doubt that the judge is about to hang women.”

“They said that you stood defiant at your trial and refused to apologize for your pirate ways, and that neither you nor Mary have demonstrated any contrition.”

“We’re pirates,” Jack shrugged.

“What is it with you two?”  Anne screamed at him, her whole body was trembling and she no longer cared that she had lost control over her crying.  “Neither of you are willing to show any regrets or remorse, even though it might end up saving your lives?”

“That’s because it would be lie. We can’t lie, Anne.  Doing so would go against everything we’ve ever stood for.”

“But you’re going to die, Jack.”

“That’s right, Anne. Tomorrow, when the hangman puts that noose around my neck everyone will see that my face is smiling.  I’ve had a life well lived, and I thank you for being a part of that.  In these past weeks I’ve known the passion I’d always dreamed of, and I’m happy to go out with the last part of my life being the best part of my life.”

Anne was speechless. She was terrified of dying and would do or say anything to avoid it, and he was blithely referring to his impending execution as if it were just another part of the ongoing adventure.  She clutched onto the bars for support and slowly shook her head while tears poured down her cheeks.

Jack reached through the bars and stroked her hair. “I’m dying at a time of my own choosing, Anne,” he said calmly. “And there are very few that ever have that opportunity.  You’re going to live and hopefully grow old, but growing old to me would be the worst kind of death.  This way I’m never going to be in a place where my body fails me and I can only live through memories while screaming in futile frustration from the inside.”

 

Excerpt from Love, Lust & Passion:  The Real Story of The Pirate Anne Bonny

This historical novel is now available in both e-book and print versions

 

LLP cover first draftLearn about the real life of Anne Bonny, a teenager who runs away from the confining life of colonial Carolina to Nassau in New Providence, Bahamas hoping to enjoy the lust filled, idealized life of freedom as a pirate, but ends up learning about the costs of that freedom. 
While in the Bahamas Anne meets and becomes intimate with Mary Read, whom Anne considers to be the epitome of a woman pirate, and serves with her under the command of Calico Jack Rackham, the last of the golden age pirate captains. Jack Rackham is a man driven to have all of the adventure, love and lust he can. To Anne, Jack is the perfect man, and she happily becomes his mistress. 

Numerous versions of the pirate life of Anne Bonny have been told over the past three centuries, but few of these stories have considered her from a historical perspective. Most of them simply re-visit the sensational and titillating tales of a woman serving aboard an eighteenth century pirate ship and take what is generally accepted about her at face value. 
When one considers the historical chronology, however, many of the stories about Anne Bonny do not make sense. After researching, it is the opinion of this author that much of what has been accepted as fact about Anne Bonny was more likely to have been about another woman pirate, Mary Read. Anne’s actual story, however, not only makes for a great read, but also makes a lot more sense when one considers the fact that her entire time aboard a pirate ship was only two months. 

Researched historical chronology was used as the basis in writing this historical novel, with license taken by the author to determine the motivations of the characters since they were inferred by him from the facts, and the story line was then created to both fit and explain those facts. While interesting from a historical and biography perspective, this book also contains both heterosexual and bisexual situations and is therefore not suitable for minors. 

The pages in this book tell the real story (truth being defined as the most logical interpretation of the facts) of the pirate life of Anne Bonny. 

(click he above image for a link to see both formats)

A Brief History of Rum in Colonial America

RUM

In 1493 the Spanish introduced sugar cane into the West Indies and enslaved the native populations to work their sugar plantations.  Sugar was produced by crushing the cane, boiling the resulting juices, and then leaving the syrup in clay pots to cure.  A viscous liquid, molasses, was then poured off leaving the pure sugar behind and for every two pounds of sugar produced a pound of molasses was also created.  This industrial waste was fed to slaves and livestock but, with no other practical use for it, most of the molasses was dumped into the ocean.  It was probably the slaves who first realized that if molasses was mixed with the liquid skimmed off the cane juice during boiling and fermented, it produced an intoxicating beverage.  Colonists soon realized that this mixture was an excellent starting point for distillation and by 1650 British planters in Barbados and the French in Martinique began creating a drink called rum in pot stills.  Rum rapidly became the alcoholic beverage of choice in England and colonial America and soon many of the sugar growing islands in the Caribbean were also distilling rum.

TAXATION

In 1733 the British parliament, in an attempt to regulate commerce and collect duties by forcing trade through the ports of Kingston and Nassau, passed the molasses act which imposed a high tax on molasses or rum coming from any non-British island and also made it illegal for the colonies to trade alcoholic beverages directly between one another. The molasses act was not enforced initially and by 1742 England was at war with both France and Spain so there was no worry about the colonies trading with other nations.

When the hostilities with Spain and France ended, however, Britain began to look for additional sources of revenue from the colonies to help pay for the war costs.  Although it provoked much anger amongst the American colonists, enforcement of the molasses act began in 1750.

HOW THE FORMER PIRATES HELPED THE COLONISTS

The end of the war had also brought dire economic consequences for the pirates who had become privateers but had been released from government employment. The more entrepreneurial amongst them, the ones who had fast ships capable of outrunning the British revenue cutters, elected to help the American colonists avoid what they felt were unjustified taxes by smuggling for them.

With the help of the former pirates, American goods were then traded with the ever obliging merchants on Harbour Island, Bahamas, or went directly to Martinique where the rum was cheap.

NEXT BOOK IN THE SERIES

In Rum & Wrecks, which I am currently writing, we find the protagonists from Pirates of the Bahamas becoming rum smugglers, after a harrowing experience with the Spanish regarding salvaging a ship makes Jack realize that smuggling might be safer than wrecking.

Wrecking in the Bahamas in the Eighteenth Century

With so many reefs and shallow waters surrounding the passageways through the Bahamas, many merchant ships were lost there as trade became established between Europe, the West Indies and the American Colonies.  Sailors who encountered a shipwreck would salvage the contents in an activity known as wrecking.  From the time that the Bahamas was first settled in 1648 wrecking was an important activity, growing so much that by 1660 when New Providence was settled many captains had dedicated their vessels to it.  Rather than a passive, opportunistic activity, however, these seamen pursued wrecking aggressively, regarding all salvage as their property, and they were rumored to kill people who inconveniently survived the shipwrecks. They drove Spanish sailors away from Spanish wrecks, and even took goods that the Spanish had already salvaged. Understandably, the Spanish considered these Bahamian wreckers to be pirates, and retaliated by attacking the wreckers’ ships.  The Spanish also made repeated attacks on New Providence to retrieve salvaged property and burned the capital, Charles Town, in 1684.  Charles Town was rebuilt and named Nassau in 1695.

After piracy was eliminated from the Bahamas in the early 1720s the Bahamian government established controls over the wreckers, requiring them to carry salvaged goods to Nassau, where they were auctioned. They also required wreckers to have a government license to do so. However, goods which would be useful on a ship or in a wrecker’s home were often diverted with the government officials turning a blind eye to it.  The wreckers usually received 40% to 60% of the value of the salvaged goods, and many former pirates turned to wrecking as a legal, and very profitable, profession.

Wrecking continued to be a mainstay of the Bahamian economy through most of the 19th century until improved navigation and the building of lighthouses saw the number of wrecks diminish.  In its heyday there were 302 ships and 2,679 men (out of a total population of 27,000) licensed as wreckers in the Bahamas.   Salvaged cargo brought into Nassau in 1856 was valued at £96,304, more than half of all imports to the Bahamas, and more than two-thirds of the exports from the Bahamas were salvaged goods.

Wrecking is featured prominently in the novel I am currently working on, Rum & Wrecks, which will be the second book in the Pirates of the Bahamas series now that I am finished writing the prequel, Love, Lust & Passion, and it has been published.

Love, Lust & Passion book trailer and publishing update

Here’s the book trailer for Love, Lust & Passion:  The Real Story of the Pirate Anne Bonny

The e-book version is life on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IU85TYU

And the print version will be available in September, 2016.

The Real Pirate Anne Bonny book is now on Amazon

Download a free copy of the e-book version of Love, Lust & Passion:  The Real Story of the Pirate Anne Bonny , my latest Historical Fiction Novel, from Amazon today and tomorrow (July 24th and 25th).    Please feel free to share, and if you enjoy it please give me a good review.  10-20 five star reviews will help with visibility.

Love, Lust & Passion: The Real Story of the Pirate Anne Bonny

My latest historical novel, Love, Lust & Passion:  The Real Story of the Pirate Anne Bonny, will be available in print in September, 2016 and as an e-book in August, 2016.  Here’s the blurb:

Learn about the real life of Anne Bonny, a teenager who runs away from the confining life of colonial Carolina to Nassau in New Providence, Bahamas hoping to enjoy the lust filled, idealized life of freedom as a pirate, but ends up learning about the costs of that freedom.
While in the Bahamas Anne meets and becomes intimate with Mary Read, whom Anne considers to be the epitome of a woman pirate, and serves with her under the command of Calico Jack Rackham, the last of the golden age pirate captains.  Jack Rackham is a man driven to have all of the adventure, love and lust he can.  To Anne, Jack is the perfect man, and she happily becomes his mistress.

Numerous versions of the pirate life of Anne Bonny have been told over the past three centuries, but few of these stories have considered her from a historical perspective.  Most of them simply re-visit the sensational and titillating tales of a woman serving aboard an eighteenth century pirate ship and take what is generally accepted about her at face value. 
When one considers the historical chronology, however, many of the stories about Anne Bonny do not make sense.  After researching, it is the opinion of this author that much of what has been accepted as fact about Anne Bonny was more likely to have been about another woman pirate, Mary Read.   Anne’s actual story, however, not only makes for a great read, but also makes a lot more sense when one considers the fact that her entire time aboard a pirate ship was only two months.

Researched historical chronology was used as the basis in writing this novel, with license taken by the author to determine the motivations of the characters since they were inferred by him from the facts, and the story line was then created to both fit and explain those facts.   While interesting from a historical perspective, this book also contains both heterosexual and bisexual situations and is therefore not suitable for minors.

The pages in this book tell the real story (truth being defined as the most logical interpretation of the facts) of the pirate life of Anne Bonny.

Please let me know if you would like to review this book and I’ll send you a downloadable e-book free.  I’m hoping to get at least 10-20 five-star reviews.

Additional information about the history is available at www.annebonnyandmaryread.com

 

Pirate Rum Drinks in the 18th Century

My research into pirates and people in colonial times in general has shown, not surprisingly, that as a whole they consumed a lot of alcohol, considering it to be a healthy alternative to water.  While we associate pirates with drinking rum straight, they actually enjoyed it in a variety of mixed drinks.  Here are a few of the more interesting ones I’ve come across:

RATTLE-SKULL

Why bother with separate mugs for beer and rum when you can just mix it up together?  Rattle-Skull did just that.  Half a cup of rum was blended with a pint of porter and the juice of half a lime, then served with shaved nutmeg on top.  My research described it as “a dangerously smooth and stultifying concoction.”

FLIP

Flip was a blend of ale, rum, molasses and eggs.  The eggs and molasses were beaten together in a ceramic jug, then rum was blended in, then the jug was topped off with ale and all the ingredients mixed together.  Before serving, a hot poker was inserted into the jug and after it frothed up it was poured into mugs and served.

BUMBO

Bumbo was a mixture of rum, water, sugar and nutmeg which was enjoyed by sailors in the West Indies in the early 1700s, and it eventually became a very popular drink throughout the English Colonies too.

coconut005 I suspect that coconut water was likely used in the Caribbean, and I can personally vouch for this one as an excellent drink when made that way.

Bumbo even played a role in the course of American history.  Political campaigning in colonial times included providing generous amount of drink, presumably in exchange for votes.  George Washington’s papers state that he used “160 gallons of rum to treat 391 voters to bumbo” during his campaign for the Virginia House in 1758.  He won.

 

 

Triangular Trade made Piracy Golden

When European demand for the products from the Spanish Main and the Caribbean Islands soared in the 17th and 18th centuries, a very profitable system was set up to transport these goods back to England, Spain, France and The Netherlands.  The so called Triangular Trade took manufactured products such as cloth, iron and beer to Africa to be exchanged for slaves, which were then takes across the Atlantic and sold at tremendous profit.  The ships then loaded up with sugar, molasses and rum and headed back to Europe in a triangular circuit that took about a year to complete.

By the beginning of the 18th century all of this wealth, the slave ships coming in from Africa and the goods laden ships leaving for Europe, had become irresistible targets for looters and pirates.  The golden age of piracy was born, not due to grand efforts on the part of the pirates themselves, but because of the abundance of spoils and the ease of taking them.

Here’s some more reading material: http://piratesoflore.com/triangular-trade.html