Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

255px-Bartholomew_RobertsOl’ Robbo does not mean to go poaching in the preserve of one of the more estimable friends of the decanter, but I can’t help noting that today is the anniversary of the birth, in 1682, of the Dread Pirate Roberts.  Sayeth Wiki:

Bartholomew Roberts was born in 1682 in Casnewydd-Bach, or Little Newcastle, between Fishguard and Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, Wales. His name was originally John Roberts, and his father was most likely George Roberts.  It’s not clear why Roberts changed his name from John to Bartholomew, but pirates often adopted aliases, and he may have chosen that name after the well-known buccaneer Bartholomew Sharp.  He is thought to have gone to sea when he was 13 in 1695 but there is no further record of him until 1718, when he was mate of a Barbados sloop.

In 1719 he was third mate on the slave ship Princess, under Captain Abraham Plumb. In early June that year the Princess was anchored at Anomabu, then spelled Annamaboa, which is situated along the Gold Coast of West Africa (present-day Ghana), when she was captured by pirates. The pirates were in two vessels, the Royal Rover and the Royal James, and were led by captain Howell Davis. Davis, like Roberts, was a Welshman, originally from Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire. Several of the crew of the Princess were forced to join the pirates, including Roberts.

Davis quickly discovered Roberts’ abilities as a navigator and took to consulting him.  He was also able to confide to Roberts information in Welsh, thereby keeping it hidden from the rest of the crew.  Roberts is said to have been reluctant to become a pirate at first, but soon came to see the advantages of this new lifestyle. Captain Charles Johnson reports him as saying:

“In an honest service there is thin commons, low wages, and hard labour. In this, plenty and satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power; and who would not balance creditor on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst is only a sour look or two at choking? No, a merry life and a short one shall be my motto.”

He was killed by grapeshot in a battle in 1722 and buried at sea before his body could be captured.  Or so they say.

At this point I naturally was going to put in the clip of Wesley explaining to Buttercup how he had become TDPR, but YewToob doesn’t seem to carry that scene.  Oh, well.  In poking about, however, I did come across this bit, which should provide some mild Friday afternoon amusement: