International Terrorism in the 16th Century

I was gladened to read the missive for Saturday 18 August 1666 by my goode frynde and principled blogger, Samuel Pepys, as that day was my birthday and I was elsewhere.

Sammy had purchased some right bargains at his mercers on Lombard Street; the one with the bonny lassie.  He then fell into conversation with John Creed, his rival for the favours of [Sammy’s] cousin, Edward Montague 1st Earl of Sandwich about the unfolding over-reach in Tangiers.


The Mole at Tangiers, engraved for the first edition of the Rev. John Smith's 1825 edition of the diary.

I fully appreciate the need for our Navy to establish a secure garrison at the esconson of the Pillars of Hercules.   For trade and to circumvent the unfryndely forces in Europe, but foremost to combat the international terrorism of the Barbary Corsairs.  A source of shame should still be the shameful treatment of the valiant Admiral Blake by the Tunisians, and I gather there are many thousands of civilized captives in Algiers.  Even Dutchmen.

Our late Queen Elizabeth had many pleasing attributes, I hear, but establishing cordial relations with the Ottoman Empire and Barbary states simply to frustrate the Romish forces in Europe was a grave mistake.

It is not four decades since the dreadful Sack of Baltimore when many dozens were abducted by foul slavers.  This was not just Romish Irish, but goode English planters.  Someone should write a poem about it.

And I have recently read the shocking accounts of the abduction, in the Year of Our Lord 1627, and escape of an Icelander woman named Tyrkja Gudda.  I understand that the Danish garrison did little to protect the Icelanders. 

What concerns me is the amount of money being spent on fortifying a troublesome harbour at Tangiers.  I have heard talk of £340,000 being required to establish a mole beneath it, which Sam has written about before.

Nearby, the Rock of Gibraltar will make a much more pleasing location for a garrison.


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