Monday, January 11, 2016

History: The Year is 1706

I've uploaded year 1706 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Pirate 'Honor System' is Established -- Strangely they swear on the Bible... like honest pirates. I talk about Thomas Jefferson's fight against the Barbary pirates and modern piracy.

Thomas Twining Opens a Tea Room -- Most Brits drink coffee but when Twining opens a tea room, tea drinking really takes off! I also talk about taxation and economics.

The First American, Benjamin Franklin, is Born -- I talk about his mother's connection to Folgers Coffee, and how an apprentice was akin to a slave in those days.

A Pirate 'Honor System' is Established

The Pirates of the Caribbean have established an informal republic on the Island of New Providence in what is the modern day city of Nassau in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. The law they follow is a written code of conduct signed by each member of the crew with a solemn oath taken on the Bible, or an axe if a Bible is not available. (The axe is a Roman symbol representing the king's authority to execute a law-breaker.) The code varies from ship-to-ship but in general a new pirate is agreeing to the following: [1] [2]
* All weapons are to be clean and in working order.
* No gambling for money on-board is allowed.
* Lights out at 8 PM.
* Drinking after 8 PM only on the open deck. (We got standards here!)
* No smuggling of women or young boys on board. (This is the "Did you bring enough for EVERYONE?" rule.).
* No fighting on-board. Take it to the beach or finish it in a proper duel.
* Workers compensation is paid for crippling or loss of limb.
* No one quits until each man builds his shares to 1,000 pounds sterling.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... during the 1690s to early 1700s, a pirate was not easily distinguishable from a privateer who carried authorization from his government to interdict enemy shipping. In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay tribute to pirates of the Barbary Coast which included Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. The Algerians didn't think they were pirates, but Jefferson did. Thus began the First Barbary War. Now we have comedic movies about the Pirates of the Caribbean, and we laugh as we sing "Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho, a Pirate's Life for me!" Piracy in the modern day is an ugly business, and one wonders why ships are not better armed. It's a liability thing because it is difficult to prove that the people you have shot are pirates when the only witnesses around are you and a few traumatized pirates who call themselves "innocent fishermen." [3] [4]

Thomas Twining Opens a Tea Room

Thomas Twining buys Tom's Coffeehouse and along with the coffee, he serves an infusion of what Queen Anne calls "tay". It is the Chinese herb that we call tea in the modern day. Soon, Thomas will be selling dry tea as well as a good steaming cup despite the high taxes imposed on dry tea. Queen Anne LOVES it, and she will soon become associated with tea drinking. Currently there are thousands of coffeehouses but only a bare handful of tea rooms, but that is all going to change. Twining's tea room will exist into the modern day, but the dried tea company will be bought out by Associated British Foods in 1964. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Thomas Twining and his family had been wool processors for generations. Opening up a coffeehouse and tea room was a real departure in one sense but in another it makes perfect sense. In the past, wool has been a commodity often used in place of money. In coffeehouses such as Lloyd's more than drinking coffee was going on. Big economic decisions were being made in coffeehouses. Stock brokers made their deals in such places. Insurance companies had their beginnings there, and even shipping deals were made in coffeehouses, so in that sense, a family of former wool processors would have the economic connections and enough "money" to make a coffee shop or tea room a go. The Twinings were even asked for ideas on how to improve the economy. They suggested that the tax on tea be revoked in exchange for a one-time infusion of cash from tea sellers. The government took their suggestion and sales of tea tripled almost immediately. The power to tax is the power to destroy. Conversely, not taxing tea did not create anything except a desire for the new Chinese herb. [9]

The First American, Benjamin Franklin, is Born

Benjamin Franklin is born on January 17th, 1706 by the Gregorian calendar although the Boston city registrar is using the Julian calendar to log the date. And since the Gregorian calendar moves the New Year from March 25th to January 1st, a lot of dates shift around wildly in translation. The birth dates of the America's Founding Fathers is a case in point, but however you calculate the date, Benjamin Franklin is the first of those Founding Fathers to be born. He will fight so hard to turn the British colonies into the United States of America that he is often called "The First American" but for now he is a baby born to his father Josiah Franklin and his mother, Abiah Folger. In time, Benjamin Franklin will be given over as an apprentice printer to James Franklin, Benjamin's older brother. An apprentice is somewhat like an indentured servant. The word "apprentice" comes from the Latin root meaning "to seize". See "apprehend." [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Benjamin's mother, Abiah Folger, was related to the family that founded the Folger Coffee Company in 1860. J. A. Folger was a carpenter from Nantucket who went West to find his fortune during the California Gold Rush. He was 15 years old. By his mid-twenties he owned a coffee company. (Apparently, gold miners drank a lot of coffee.) At 15 years old, Benjamin Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship under his brother, James. This was considered illegal, somewhat akin to a runaway slave. Although most modern people assume that the apprenticeship system was an early version of a vocational school, it was actually a way to control competition for jobs. As an apprentice almost every aspect of one's life was under the control of his master including what might euphemistically be called one's "personal life". Beatings were common. Living conditions were miserable. Every effort was made to discourage work in the trades so that only the most cunning and skilled would rise to the top. Benjamin Franklin was one of those who rose to the top, not only as a printer, but as a scientist and diplomat. He was also a bit of a character but that's another story. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1706, Wikipedia.

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