Published On: Tue, Jul 11th, 2017

Love, gold, murder, and suicide

“Anansi, let me tell you a story of passion, love, gold, murder, and suicide. It was an incident that happened to Hiram Beakes, a scion of the island of Saba.”

The young man was born as the second son of the Councillor of the Island and had lived nothing but a privileged and protected youth. Naturally, he was eager to venture out into the world. By the grace of his father, he mustered onto a crew of a trade ship, “the Adventurer” on the route Saba-Vlissingen, as an apprentice,

In 1764, the 19-year-old sailor set foot on land in Vlissingen for the first time.  He formally met one of his patrons, Mr. Snyder, and his wife. She was a brunette of Antwerp and only half her wealthy husband’s age. The lady had a roving eye. Hiram, hardly more than a boy, instantly became the boy toy of the sophisticated woman. Caution and discretion were hardly her trade.

When Mr. Snyder suddenly died, supposedly from poisoning, accusing fingers of the community immediately pointed at the young man and his mistress.

Hiram and Snyder’s widow were charged with murder, but by a lack of evidence, or maybe appropriate payments, the couple was acquitted.

Passion, love, murder and public scandal were too much for the young man. Almost overnight, the spineless lover-boy turned into a foolhardy daredevil.  Out of revenge, Hiram stole the ship “The Adventurer.” of his patrons and employers. Once re-rigged, and with beginners’ luck, Hiram used the boat in a raid on a Chilean vessel, “the Acapulco,” laden with 200,000 small gold bars. Hiram brutally murdered the Chilean crew ‘in the most despicable manner.’

The loot of the Acapulco was large enough to buy a ‘Lettre de Marque,' a Privateer and Pirate License, from the governor of Gibraltar. Thus, a new Pirate was born.

Under the Adagio, ‘dead men tell no tales,’ Hiram murdered, pillaged and plundered six days a week, but on Sabbath, the Day of the Lord. Then, he congregated his entire crew on deck in a devout and solemn Religious Service, begging the Lord for the forgiveness of their many sins.

Hiram suffered intensely under his deadliest of sins; fornication. After all, it was written in Leviticus, that “none of you shall approach anyone to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord.”

When Hiram witnessed his pirate crew plunder a Convent on the Balearic Islands, he insisted wedding all his men to the nuns, so that what was to follow inevitably, would be marriages consummated in sanctity.

Then the day arrived that the love-starved  Hiram decided to return to Holland, marry his mistress and head back for his home harbor on the island of Saba.

But this time, upon arrival, he learned that the Criminal Courts of Holland and Zealand had prevailed upon his mistress, who was convicted and hanged for attempting to poison her child, the child he had fathered.

Hiram went raving mad. Loyal to his faith, Hiram followed his Jesus in driving out the demon that had taken possession of his soul. Like the demons who were sent into a herd of pig that threw itself of the cliffs, Hiram threw himself off a dike and drowned.

"Yes, Anansi, it is a sad story for a young man who had everything and wasted it all. We all have to play the cards we are dealt with in life, but you do not have to become a fool.”

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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