Friday, May 15, 2009

Lovecraft, Charles Dexter Ward and Real Life Pirates

Below are real life pirate insurance documents seen for auction recently on the ebayeum. First, some passages about pirates from HPL: (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward) - Gossip spoke of the strange substances he brought from London and the Indies on his ships ... ... That many of the errands had concerned the farm of Pawtuxet Road, and that few of the sailors had ever been seen to return from that place, was not forgotten; so that in time it became exceedingly difficult for Curwen to keep his oddly assorted hands. Almost invariably several would desert soon after hearing the gossip of the Providence wharves, and their replacement in the West Indies became an increasingly great problem to the merchant. ... ... Yett will this auaile Nothing if there be no Heir, and if the Saltes, or the Way to make the Saltes, bee not Readie for his Hande; and here I will owne, I haue not taken needed Stepps nor founde Much. Ye Process is plaguy harde to come neare; and it used up such a Store of Specimens, I am harde putte to it to get Enough, notwithstand'g the Sailors I haue from ye Indies. Ye People aboute are become curious, but I can stande them off.

And now the description of the docments below:

Insurance Policy against Pirates (Providence RI, 1806)/// Washington Insurance Company in Providence, June 5, 1806 /// 1 Pg document, measures 9.5" x 15"
Policy number 1925, issued to Misters Benjamin & Charles Dyer for $530.00 for property on Board the Brig Providence from Providence [RI] to Suriname [Republic of Suriname, is a country in northern South America] "with liberty to proceed from to any Port or Ports on the main or in the West India Islands not Leeward of St. Croix for an addition of one percent premium for each port touched.." /// "... And in Cases of Extremity and distress, it shall be lawful for the said vessel, etc. in this voyage, to proceed to, and touch at, any ports or places whatever, without prejudice to this Insurance: And the WASHINGTON INSURANCE COMPANY IN PROVIDENCE agree to bear and take upon them, in this Voyage, the Danger of the Seas, of Fire, Enemies, Pirates, assailing Thieves, Restraints and Detainments of all Kings, Princes or People... have or shall come to the Damage of said property or any Part thereof to which Assurers are liable."

One of the first of two insurance companies of Providence, Rhode Island, the Washington Insurance Company in Providence was founded primarily to provide insurance for merchant vessels. Founded in 1800, the company competed with the well established Providence Insurance Company and declared its first dividend on January 2, 1801. /// The company operated successfully until September 18, 1813 when the directors voted to suspend operations due to risks associated with the war with Great Britain. /// Opening again for business on March 4, 1815, immediately after the signing of the peace treaty, the company also began proceedings culminating in a merger with the Providence Insurance Company. In March of 1820 the final incorporation of the Providence Washington Insurance Company was obtained. /// Source: "One Hundred and Fifty Years of the Providence Washington Insurance Company; 1799-1949", Roelker, William Greene and Collins, Clarkson A. , Providence Washington Insurance Company, 1949.

Hopefully this will enhance your enjoyment of re-reading Charles Dexter Ward!

Clicking on the documents should expand them and make them somewhat more readable.

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