Expedition Whydah... Barry Clifford... 312 pages... High School, Adult
As some of the other books on our list have mentioned, directly or indirectly, the story of the pirate Sam Bellamy and his
young love, Maria Hallet, is one of the biggest and most fascinating parts of Wellfleet and Eastham history and folklore.
Before Barry Clifford came along in the 1980s, they were the stuff of rumors and "twice told tales", stories passed from
generation to generation in families, around campfires, and in bars, and which changed just a bit at every telling. Some of
the best history books about the Cape, those written before Barry Clifford came on the scene, will refer to the love story of
pirate and maiden as rumors. Their romance is reported in just about every book about the Cape's rather well-
history of ghost sightings and ghost legends.
This book is a must for anyone interested in pirate life. It dispels many of the ideas about pirates, their being outcasts and
rejects from society, their cruelty and violence. In the timeline of history, it was not that long after the demise of the Whydah
that Benjamin Franklin emerged from a Pennsylvania meeting of some of the finest minds in the Colonies to be asked "What
kind of government have you decided on?" He replied,"A Republic, Ma'am, and I pray that those who follow are wise
enough to keep it." A republic is a democracy, but with one major difference. Republics have constitutions, and costitutions
are the law. Pirates, as you will read, had a form of constitution. Pirates had a code wherein the majority vote decided the
issue, but only within the laws by which they were governed. Their brutality mirrored that of a very brutal society on both land
and water, but their gathering to vote on shipboard decisions was much like a precursor to those who left Europe for the New
World in search of freedom under law.
Over time, Clifford's discovery, book, and soon to open (as of 2016) new museum in Brewster will likely stir more imaginations,
spur new explorers to search the depths of the ocean, new writers to wonder at his discoveries, even new story-
fill in gaps in th legend. At one point he mentions the recovery of a rather elaborate man's dress shoe pinned and preserved
under a cannon, complete with a stocking and foot bone. He asks who would be wearing such a shoe on board a pirate ship
out at sea. Sam Bellamy was never found after the Whidah sank off the coast of Wellfleet. Who might have dressed in his
finest as he planned to sail past the shore where his love waited? The book is a victory, and just possibly a new beginning