Excerpt: “Triangle: A Memoir of Black Caesar”
“A Memoir of Oistin’s Town, Barbados, 1703”
“I sayled as a boy, the summer of -03 and into the late autumn, with Benjamin Hornigold. When I woke in the morning after I’d met him, aboard his ship, at sea, I was made to believe that, in my intoxication, I had joyned his crew. I worked hard, as if I had, though I had no memory of such a bond. It wasn’t until November of 1703, having arrived at Nassau, New Providence, that I found I had never been more than a hostage for ransom. A prisoner, who’d earned no share in the spoils we had taken together. The story of my joyning his crew had been a lie, and this, in spite of my loyalty to him and his fair treatment of me during our many voyages.
I learnt also, in my tyme aboard his ship, why he was so much more feared among all the pyrates that roamed the waters of the Spanish Lake. Feared to the point that Thomas Handasyde hyred a fleet of fyve ships to pursue him throughout that sea. It all came to naught. Hornigold outwitted and outsayled every adversary sent against him. If he were resisted at sea, his tactics were brutal and fierce. He would disable the rudder of an intended prize with a sweeping broadside, before boarding. He would take no prisoners and leave no witness, often sinking the ship when he’d done looting cargo and passengers. I hadn’t the stomach for such.
Although many Spanish, French and even English ships surrendered their cargo and riches to us when he’d raised his black flag, his preferred sources of revenue were the many fortifyed towns dotting the coastlynes of the Caribbean. These were targets few others, even Morgan, would attempt alone, but Hornigold seemed a genius of Naval tactics and the penetration of castle fortresses. He attributed his prowess to good luck, benevolent spirits, fierce determination and a good crew. I had never known such lawlessness as I found among these men who were called buccaneers, inhabitants of the isle of Tortuga where we spent much of our tyme. Among them I grew careless, forgetting, for a tyme, who I was and my obligations, but, in all the years at the Mermaid Inn and while I sayled with Hornigold, I never stopped wondering what had become of the boy, Nwoye. I asked on many occasion, as we sayled near the isle of St. Domingue, to be allowed to seek him out, but I was denied. I worried for his survival as I did my own. The thought of him and of the many horrors we had survived together drove me to seek comfort and solace in the rhum Hornigold had introduced into my lyfe on that night that I met him.
Williamsburg, June, 1719″