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A Pirate 'Honor System' is Established *

The Pirates of the Caribbean have established an informal republic on the Island of New Providence in what is the modern day city of Nassau in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The law they follow is a written code of conduct signed by each member of the crew with a solemn oath taken on the Bible, or an axe if a Bible is not available. (The axe is a Roman symbol representing the king's authority to execute a law-breaker.) The code varies from ship-to-ship but in general a new pirate is agreeing to the following: [1] [2]

* All weapons are to be clean and in working order.
* No gambling for money on-board is allowed.
* Lights out at 8 PM.
* Drinking after 8 PM only on the open deck. (We got standards here!)
* No smuggling of women or young boys on board. (This is the "Did you bring enough for EVERYONE?" rule.).
* No fighting on-board. Take it to the beach or finish it in a proper duel.
* Workers compensation is paid for crippling or loss of limb.
* No one quits until each man builds his shares to 1,000 pounds sterling.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... during the 1690s to early 1700s, a pirate was not easily distinguishable from a privateer who carried authorization from his government to interdict enemy shipping. In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay tribute to pirates of the Barbary Coast which included Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. The Algerians didn't think they were pirates, but Jefferson did. Thus began the First Barbary War. Now we have comedic movies about the Pirates of the Caribbean, and we laugh as we sing "Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho, a Pirate's Life for me!" Piracy in the modern day is an ugly business, and one wonders why ships are not better armed. It's a liability thing because it is difficult to prove that the people you have shot are pirates when the only witnesses around are you and a few traumatized pirates who call themselves "innocent fishermen." [3] [4]

Thomas Twining Opens a Tea Room

Thomas Twining buys Tom's Coffeehouse and along with the coffee, he serves an infusion of what Queen Anne calls "tay". It is the Chinese herb that we call tea in the modern day. Soon, Thomas will be selling dry tea as well as a good steaming cup despite the high taxes imposed on dry tea. Queen Anne LOVES it, and she will soon become associated with tea drinking. Currently there are thousands of coffeehouses but only a bare handful of tea rooms, but that is all going to change. Twining's tea room will exist into the modern day, but the dried tea company will be bought out by Associated British Foods in 1964. [5] [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Thomas Twining and his family had been wool processors for generations. Opening up a coffeehouse and tea room was a real departure in one sense but in another it makes perfect sense. In the past, wool has been a commodity often used in place of money. In coffeehouses such as Lloyd's more than drinking coffee was going on. Big economic decisions were being made in coffeehouses. Stock brokers made their deals in such places. Insurance companies had their beginnings there, and even shipping deals were made in coffeehouses, so in that sense, a family of former wool processors would have the economic connections and enough "money" to make a coffee shop or tea room a go. The Twinings were even asked for ideas on how to improve the economy. They suggested that the tax on tea be revoked in exchange for a one-time infusion of cash from tea sellers. The government took their suggestion and sales of tea tripled almost immediately. The power to tax is the power to destroy. Conversely, not taxing tea did not create anything except a desire for the new Chinese herb. [9]

The First American, Benjamin Franklin, is Born

Benjamin Franklin is born on January 17th, 1706 by the Gregorian calendar although the Boston city registrar is using the Julian calendar to log the date. And since the Gregorian calendar moves the New Year from March 25th to January 1st, a lot of dates shift around wildly in translation. The birth dates of the America's Founding Fathers is a case in point, but however you calculate the date, Benjamin Franklin is the first of those Founding Fathers to be born. He will fight so hard to turn the British colonies into the United States of America that he is often called "The First American" but for now he is a baby born to his father Josiah Franklin and his mother, Abiah Folger. In time, Benjamin Franklin will be given over as an apprentice printer to James Franklin, Benjamin's older brother. An apprentice is somewhat like an indentured servant. The word "apprentice" comes from the Latin root meaning "to seize". See "apprehend." [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Benjamin's mother, Abiah Folger, was related to the family that founded the Folger Coffee Company in 1860. J. A. Folger was a carpenter from Nantucket who went West to find his fortune during the California Gold Rush. He was 15 years old. By his mid-twenties he owned a coffee company. (Apparently, gold miners drank a lot of coffee.) At 15 years old, Benjamin Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship under his brother, James. This was considered illegal, somewhat akin to a runaway slave. Although most modern people assume that the apprenticeship system was an early version of a vocational school, it was actually a way to control competition for jobs. As an apprentice almost every aspect of one's life was under the control of his master including what might euphemistically be called one's "personal life". Beatings were common. Living conditions were miserable. Every effort was made to discourage work in the trades so that only the most cunning and skilled would rise to the top. Benjamin Franklin was one of those who rose to the top, not only as a printer, but as a scientist and diplomat. He was also a bit of a character but that's another story. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1706, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Republic of Pirates - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 April 2015. “The Republic of Pirates is the nomenclature for the base or stronghold run by privateers turned pirates in Nassau on New Providence island in the Bahamas for about eleven years from 1706 until 1718. Although not a state or republic in a formal sense, it was governed by its own informal 'Code of Conduct'. The activities of the pirates caused havoc with trade and shipping in the West Indies, until governor Woodes Rogers reached Nassau in 1718 and restored British control.”
  2. Fasces. Livius (2003). Retrieved on 10 January 2016. “The fasces were a symbol of authority, but the precise meaning is unknown. It is often claimed that the rods could be used to lash people, and the ax to execute them. This may have been true in the days of the monarchy, but not during the republic. After the Laws of the twelve tables, no Roman magistrate could summarily execute a Roman citizen.”
  3. Live Piracy Map. International Chamber of Commerce-Commercial Crime Services (2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2016. “This live map shows all piracy and armed robbery incidents reported to IMB Piracy Reporting Centre during 2015. If exact coordinates are not provided, estimated positions are shown based on information provided. Zoom-in and click on the pointers to view more information of individual attacks.”
  4. A Guide to Somalia's Modern Day Pirates. about.com (2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2016. “For ships further out at sea, it's up to the captains to try and out maneuver these pirates in speedboats, hose them down with fire houses, and even fire back. Insurance premiums on ships in this area are running at an all-time high. And there are still lots of pesky international laws that don't allow any navy ships to just come in and shoot at a non-military vessel. The area where most of pirates operate is about four times the size of Texas, so logistically it's difficult to ensure a safe passage for every ship in these waters.”
  5. Twinings - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 8 January 2016. “Twinings /ˈtwaɪnɪŋz/ is an English marketer of tea, based in Andover, Hampshire. The brand is owned by Associated British Foods. It holds the world's oldest continually-used company logo, and is London's longest-standing rate-payer, having occupied the same premises on the Strand since 1706.”
  6. 1700-1750 - Icons of England (2016). Retrieved on 8 January 2016. “Thomas Twining opens his tea shop on the Strand in London. You can still go and pay it a visit!”
  7. About the Strand - Twinings' Flagship Tea Store. Twinings (OFFICIAL SITE) (2016). Retrieved on 8 January 2016. “Competition between coffee houses was stiff. Fresh ideas and unusual promotional twists were what kept the business alive. The difference at Tom's was tea. Despite efforts to repress tea-drinking through the stupidly high taxes, tea became increasingly fashionable during the early part of the 18th Century, especially among the upper classes, and they flocked in their masses to buy tea from Toms Coffee House. In fact, soon he was selling more dry tea than wet - we think it was probably the world's first dry tea and coffee shop.”
  8. History of Twinings Tea. Tea Infusion (2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2016. “The Twining family were originally from Gloucestershire and were weavers and fullers (wool processors). The family was connected to the ancient Gloucestershire village of Twyning, near the Rivers Severn and Avon.”
  9. The Twinings in Three Centuries: The Annals of a Great London Tea House, 1710-1910.. R. Twining & Co., Ltd.. 
  10. Benjamin Franklin - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 7 January 2016. “Franklin earned the title of 'The First American' for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, first as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation.”
  11. Apprentice - definition of apprentice (2016). Retrieved on 11 January 2016. “3. (tr) to take, place, or bind as an apprentice [from Old French aprentis, from Old French aprendre to learn, from Latin apprehendere to apprehend]”
  12. Folgers - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 11 January 2016. “The precursor of the Folger Coffee Company was founded in 1850 in San Francisco, California, U.S., as the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills. William H. Bovee, the owner of the Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills, saw an opportunity to produce roasted and ground coffee ready for brewing. Before that, Californians had to purchase green coffee beans and roast and grind them on their own. To help build his mill, Bovee hired James A. Folger as a carpenter. James had arrived from Nantucket Island at the age of 15 with his two older brothers during the California Gold Rush.”

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