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Samuel Bellamy, the Robin Hood of the seas

Samuel Bellamy, the Robin Hood of the seas

“Some steal from the poor under the mask of the law. “We steal from the rich protected by our courage.”. Thus Samuel Bellamy explained why he had become a pirate, not a privateer (who steals for a nation), nor a mercenary (who steals and kills for money), Bellamy stole with proclaimed distributionist intentions, similar to that of the legendary Robin Hood.

The “prince of pirates” was born in 1689 into a family of farmers who did not have the means to give him a better job than that of a sailor. From the age of 13 he sailed the seas until he married and had a son. However, at the age of 36, he abandoned his family in search of new horizons. He traveled to Boston, where he met a 16-year-old girl named Mary Hallet. Knowing and loving each other was the same thing. They were about to get married when Mary’s parents opposed her daughter’s marriage to a sailor with no money or future. Furious, Bellamy swore to come back to look for her and show the family the fortune he would obtain… but saying that is easy, achieving the goal is not so easy, and even less so honestly.

He was about to become captain of a merchant ship when luck (or misfortune) knocked on his door: he heard the news that a Spanish fleet of eleven ships had sunk in the seas of Florida after one of those strong hurricanes that hit its coasts.

associated to Paul Williams –son of a respectable Rhode Islands family– set sail to hunt for treasure, but it turned out that they were not the only ones looking for the sunken ships and the task turned out to be difficult, dangerous and very competitive. After a month, they had found nothing and Samuel saw his intentions of becoming rich to ask for Mary’s hand disappear.

It was then when, harassed by ambition and love for Mary, he decided to be a pirate and joined his crew with that of Captain Benjamin Hornigold. This man went down in history as the kindest of pirates, a chivalry that was not always well regarded by his colleagues…

Hornigold was associated with Edward Teach better known as “Blackbeard”. Together they had captured several French and Spanish ships, but never English ships, since Hornigold respected his compatriots.

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This respect for certain rules earned him the dislike of his crew. They did not care about the nationality of the ships as long as the captured gold appeased their greed. For this reason the crew revolted, Hornigold decided to resign due to the certain possibility of being murdered and Bellamy and Williams were consecrated as captain and quartermaster of the ship respectively.

Bellamy, an experienced seaman, became popular among his men for being strict but orderly, polite but stern, and possessing a particular sense of justice. He was also elegant, liked to wear expensive clothes and did not wear the powdered wig as was common then. Because of his black hair they called him Black Bellamy.

Commanding “La Sultana”, and with Williams commanding the sloop “Marianne”, they captured more than 50 ships in Caribbean waters. In less than a year, Bellamy became the richest pirate of all time. But as often happens, too much is never enough and he became infatuated with capturing the “Whydah”, a Dutch slave ship, fast and strong, capable of confronting the British navy ships that harassed it.

After the “Whydah” sailed from Jamaica bound for London, Bellamy and Williams pursued him for 150 miles until they told their captain to surrender after firing just 2 volleys.

This capture established Bellamy as the “prince of the seas”. Finally he had the ship of his dreams and could return to look for his beloved Mary to show the family the accumulated fortune. But it turns out that Mary had become pregnant by Bellamy without him knowing. The young woman gave birth to a child who died shortly after birth. Her family disowned Mary and she was expelled from her parental home.

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The young woman waited for Bellamy’s triumphant return, although time passed and with the wait, which became eternal, love mutated first into discouragement and, slowly, into hate. He was to blame for her misfortune.

Despondent, Mary wished her lover the worst of luck…which did not take long to arrive.

On the way to Cape Cod, Bellamy’s fleet captured a sloop captained by a Mr. Beer. Bellamy and Beer met and the latter was lucky enough to live to tell about the meeting.

First of all, Bellamy apologized for having been forced to assault him since it was not his intention to cause harm. “At the end of all, you are a little puppy who does not have the courage to defend yourself against the rich, because they are idiots with chicken souls,” and then he blurted out the phrase that started this story, where he summarized the philosophy of this prince of pirates: steal from the rich protected by his courage.

Captain Beer was invited to join the crew of the “Whydah”, but he rejected the offer, arguing that his conscience did not allow him to ignore “the laws of God and men.” Angry, Bellamy replied: “You are a scoundrel with a devilish conscience, while I am a free man and have all the authority in the world… It is not worth arguing with puppies who tolerate the kicks of their superiors, hypocritical pimps…”

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When the sloop’s assets were transferred to Bellamy’s ships, They set fire to the ship and Beer and his men were left in Rhode Island where the captain was able to recount this dialogue he had had with the Robin Hood of the sea.

On his way back to display the riches that would make him worthy of the hand of Mary Halletta storm sank the “Whydah” and took the lives of Captain Bellamy and 145 of his sailors. Victims of the curse of a resentful lover?

The story does not end here because 270 years later another treasure hunter like Bellamy had been in his days, found the remains of the “Whydah” and among its dead the corpse of the richest pirate in history, a prince of the seas, the Robin Hood of an endless ocean who liked to teach morality lessons based on utopian distributionism.

In his speech there was only one fallacy: with his fortune. Bellamy had become another rich man who exploited his subordinates…but with greater concealment.

Source: Ambito

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