Attempted Utopian Society Captain Mission Pirate Utopia Part 1

About the attempted utopian society Captain Mission's Pirate Utopia, history, population, economic and social structure.

Captain Mission's Unique Pirate Utopia

This is a true story of a fugitive who wanted to establish a better society to live in--and who tried to create such a society in the early 1700s.

Francois Mission was born in Provence, France. At the age of 16--tall, strong, handsome--he went to sea. He matured into a contradiction--a combined "man of action and dreamer." A brilliant fencer, he was also a thinker. His social philosophy, although crude and strange, was democratic and "the deepest passion in his life was love of man." But even as he loved his neighbor, he was forced, as part of his profession, to kill his neighbor. Once, after boarding an enemy vessel, and disposing of a half-dozen ferocious Moors, he was remorseful, and when his ship, the Victoire, docked in Italy, he sought solace by hurrying straightaway to a Catholic Church and the confessional.

By chance, the Italian priest who heard Mission's confession was also a young, restless, somewhat radical dreamer. His name was Pere Caraccioli, and Mission's confession of his seafaring adventures and sins so stimulated and intrigued the good father, that he promptly discarded his cassock and went to sea with his visitor.

Together, the 2 young men spent weeks discussing the troubles of the world and brewing their own utopian remedies. Then, suddenly, the Victoire became locked in battle with a Dutch ship. An enemy cannonball killed the Victoire's captain, and the 2nd-in-command hurried to run up the flag of surrender. Francois Mission would not have it. He decked his superior, took over command, and above the roar of conflict he exhorted his fellows to rally and, in the end, to win.

After the battle, there was indecision. Mission and Caraccioli conferred. Then the expriest confronted the men, and he said, "You, Francois, and you, my friends, have often spoken idly of wanting to be not subjects to a king but free citizens in a better world, in which liberty and equality of rights prevail. You have wished for an ideal Republic. Then here it is, the Republic of the Victoire!"

Thus began one of the most unique episodes in history. The ship, Victoire, was renamed The Republic of the Sea, and placed under the leadership of Captain Mission. The members of the crew, 200 able-bodied Frenchmen, plus 35 sick and wounded, became socialized pirates.

Never before had Cartagena, or the Spanish Main, or the West Indies, known buccaneers such as these. Instead of the white skull and crossbones on the traditional black field--the Jolly Roger--they hoisted a pure white flag embroidered with the motto "For God and Liberty." On shipboard they divided all money and all belongings, and dwelt in physical equality. Profanity and intoxication were forbidden, and anyone found guilty of either outrage was "tied to the grating and severely whipped."

On every possible occasion, Captain Mission exercised his belief in equality and liberty. Capturing a Dutch boat, he freed all the black slaves and made them citizens of his amphibious democracy. His raids on shipping were as bloodless as possible, performed with great sensitivity and good manners, and were continued only to obtain food, arms, supplies, and voluntary citizens. From the 1st Dutch ship, Captain Mission, using verbal persuasion only, won 11 volunteers for his floating utopia. From the 2nd prize, an England merchantman, Mission lured 30 British converts.

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