Quelch's Gold: Piracy, Greed, and Betrayal in Colonial New England

Overview


In May 1704 an eighty-ton brigantine, the Charles, quietly slipped into the cove at Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her sudden and unexpected appearance, some ten months after she had left Marblehead under mysterious circumstances, started tongues wagging down at the docks and in the town’s dim, cramped, seafront taverns. During the following three weeks, a drama played out involving the crew of the Charles; her commander, John Quelch; and the colonial governments of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. In...
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Quelch's Gold: Piracy, Greed, and Betrayal in Colonial New England

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Overview


In May 1704 an eighty-ton brigantine, the Charles, quietly slipped into the cove at Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her sudden and unexpected appearance, some ten months after she had left Marblehead under mysterious circumstances, started tongues wagging down at the docks and in the town’s dim, cramped, seafront taverns. During the following three weeks, a drama played out involving the crew of the Charles; her commander, John Quelch; and the colonial governments of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. In the hold of the Charles lay large quantities of Brazilian sugar, hides, cloth, guns, and gold dust and coins worth more than 10,000 sterling—a huge fortune for the time. This booty and the circumstances of the ship’s voyage led to Quelch’s arrest on charges of piracy and murder against the subjects of Queen Anne’s newest ally, the king of Portugal. One historian called Quelch’s trial, the first admiralty trial ever held outside England, “the first case of judicial murder in America.” Beyond the lure of the immediate charges, what drew folks to the Quelch case were the first stirrings of American rebellion against English rule, for the mob saw the high-handed treatment of Quelch as an attack on personal liberty and freedom. Whether pirate or privateer, Quelch suffered a travesty of justice, even by the legal standards of the time. His is a dramatic and tragic story about a man caught up in a political world he no longer understands. A legend persists that before they were captured, Quelch’s crew buried some of their gold on Star Island off the New Hampshire coast. Every summer to this day the island has continued to attract treasure hunters searching for Quelch’s gold. Quelch’s Gold tells the story behind the legend.
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Editorial Reviews

SeacoastNH.com

"Beal cuts to the heart of one authentic pirate in his new book Quelch's Gold. John Quelch is not as famous as Captain Kidd and Edmund "Blackbeard" Teach, who also sailed these waters, but his story reveals much about how pirates actually lived...Quelch's Gold is a thrilling pirate story, now finally and dramatically told, as bizarre as anything Disney might dream up but this one is true."—SeacoastNH.com
Pirates and Privateers

“Beal deftly weaves a tale of intrigue and abuse by authorities to prosecute Quelch for piracy."—Pirates and Privateers
Midwest Book Review

“A worthwhile acquisition for history buffs.”—Midwest Book Review
From the Publisher
"Beal cuts to the heart of one authentic pirate in his new book Quelch's Gold. John Quelch is not as famous as Captain Kidd and Edmund Blackbeard Teach, who also sailed these waters, but his story reveals much about how pirates actually lived….Quelch's Gold is a thrilling pirate story, now finally and dramatically told, as bizarre as anything Disney might dream up but this one is true."

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SeacoastNH.com

"Quelch's Gold is an excellent read - a pirate tale from beginning to end, but also one that has strong links to the early American spirit. Sometimes it's difficult to see how events from 300 years ago had their affect on our present world, but author Clifford Beal crafts a story that feels at once historical yet entirely relevant The trial itself is conveyed in an equally compelling manner, and opens up many legal and ethical questions that should make for excellent conversational fodder amongst fellow pirate and historical buffs."

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Bilgemunky.com

"Discusses the 1704 trial and hanging in Boston of John Quelch, captain of the Charles, and members of his crew, for piracy in Brazilian waters against Britian's ally Portugal."

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The Chronicle of Higher Education

"[T]he plot of Quelch's Gold is elaborate and the scenery amazing, reminding us of New England's ties to the wide Atlantic world."

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H-Atlantic

"Beal, a defense and security affairs writer, tells the story of pirate John Quelch, who was commander of the Charles and arrested on charges of piracy and murder in 1704. He recounts the ship's voyage, the subsequent trial and Quelch's execution in America, and how it was an early sign of the Revolution."

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Refer ence & Research Book News

"This book is recommended for all readers who have an interest in pirates and early American politics. It would make excellent outside reading for any American history class."

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Catholic Library World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597972338
  • Publisher: Potomac Books
  • Publication date: 8/31/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Clifford Beal is a defense and security affairs writer and the former editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly in London. He has written for such periodicals as Jane’s, Military History Quarterly, the Sunday Times, Toronto Globe & Mail, Dublin Sunday Business Post, Frontiers, Focus, and International Herald Tribune. He lives in France.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Prologue: Splendidum Furtum     xi
Crime
Ill Tidings     3
"It Will Not Do with These People..."     11
A Change of Plans     21
"Such Desperate Men"     33
"We Are Frenchmen"     45
Patience and Plunder     55
"Kill Him"     65
Pursuit
Diaspora     77
The Devil His Due     89
"Violently Suspected"     101
The Governor Takes Charge     111
Trail of Gold     121
To the Isles of Shoals     133
Punishment and Reward
"Plain Matters of Fact"     145
"Where Is Your Gold?"     163
The Last Voyage     171
Doubts and Recriminations     183
Flotsam     197
Epilogue: "Extraordinaries"     207
Notes and Sources     213
Index     235
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