Terrorism is not new. It has been practised in the world for centuries. The seventeenth century is no exception. There is, however, one character that stands out from the rest. Sir Henry Morgan. The son of a welsh farmer, who went on to be governor of Jamaica and achieve the highest accolade of the English crown – knighthood.
Sir Henry – “Bloody Morgan” – was the first to achieve fame as a buccaneer under the pay of the crown, though this was initially kept a secret from his enemies, the Spanish. He was, in effect, terrorising the Spanish with the blessing and support of the English. The Spanish believed they were dealing with a common pirate. His actions could not be blamed directly on England or the English. Very clever.
Sir Henry Morgan.
1635?—1688, Welsh buccaneer. In his youth he went to the West Indies, eventually joining the buccaneers there. On the death (1667) of Edward Mansfield, Morgan took his place as commander of the buccaneers. He operated as a privateer, being commissioned in his activities by the British authorities. His exploits included the capture of Puerto Príncipe (Camagüey, Cuba) and the sack of Puerto Bello (1668), the capture of Maracaibo (1669), the ravaging of the Cuban and American coasts (1670), and the daring capture of Panama (1671). His operations were always marked by brutality and debauchery, but were sometimes executed with skill against great odds. Sent (1672) as a prisoner to England on complaints of piracy, he soon became a hero, was knighted (1673), and was made lieutenant governor of Jamaica, where he spent the rest of his life and was acting governor (1680—82).
Not much can be learned from that little potted history but there is more to be found at Cavazzi.com. In fact you can find a pretty good biography there and I recommend reading it if you want to learn more about this man. Here’s a snippet:
What must first be made clear is that Henry Morgan was not a pirate. A rogue maybe, but not a pirate. He was a privateer. This meant he held a paper issued by a representative of the English government, the governor of Jamaica, empowering him to fight the Spaniards on England’s behalf. His pay was in effect what he managed to steal from Spain.
Today this might seem a dastardly way for any government to conduct itself, but in the world of the 17th century these were accepted means of conducting naval war among European powers. Hence Henry Morgan was not an outlaw pirate but a sea-raider authorised by an English Letter of Marque.
Which brings me to my point in all this.
We too, are victims of this form of piracy and terrorism. It is not Sir Henry Morgan anymore. It is Al-queda, Hezbolla, Hamas and the other numerous brigades of hatred and death that attack us. These people are in the pay of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, etc. (and even by contribution from displaced millions of muslims in almost every country in the world.) And, of course, these countries deny any connection with these “non-governmental organisations”. Like the Spanish, we cannot blame any one country for the actions of privateers. We cannot, or will not, point the finger at one responsible entity and say “Either you stop, or we will stop you” because our politicians cannot, or will not, accept that we are at war with these people. However, we have one advantage that the Spanish didn’t have. We know who is supplying and feeding the jihad. Perhaps the time has come to point the finger anyway.
Looking at old Sir Henry’s list of achievements, I can see the seventeenth century equivalent of 9/11, 7/7 and all the other “black days” that come to mind.
The loss of Puerto Principe, Puerto Bello, Maracaibo and Panama must have been shocking to the Spanish. They never regained control over these cities.
How will we react, when London is lost to the muslims? Or Malmö in Sweden? Or Paris in France?
I wonder. How many cities must we lose to the piracy of islamic terrorism before we finally decide to put a stop to the invaders among us?
We need a new Henry Morgan.