Titel: The Golden Rock : an Episode of the American...
Verlag: Lee Cooper, London
Zustand: Very Good
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Very Good
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This book tells how at the height of the American War of Independence the British seized a tiny Caribbean island called St. Eustatius, or properly, Statia. A free port under the Dutch flag, Statia had achieved notoriety and for the British, an intolerable nuisance value for its thriving trade in arms and ammunition for Washington's armies. It was sufficient cause for war with the Dutch and a combined force under Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney and General Sir John Vaughan proceeded against the Dutch possessions in the Caribbean. None of these islands were defended, but what Rodney called the "glorious capture" of St. Eustatius on 3rd February 1781 became, in fact, his Nemesis. Chronically debt-ridden and harassed by his creditors, Rodney discovered St. Eustatius to be an El Dorado of goods and money valued at three million pounds. He was, of course, tempted: in effect, he had walked into an unattended bank with its safe doors unlocked. Given the demons in his background, there is no surprise in his fall or in his subsequent ruin by the avalanche of lawsuits arising from that adventure. All of which is broadly known: but it is by no means the whole story. The fascination of historians for the towering figure of Rodney has caused them to focus on his career and influence in the theatre of naval operations and the small print of the St. Eustatius affair has so far remained unexplored. Thus, we read in other accounts of Rodney's peremptory deportations of the island's traders but if we want to know who they were or anything of what really took place in Statia after the Admiral and the compliant Vaughan set foot on that soil we must do our own homework. Similarly, we find only scattered references to the role of the army: yet the drama of the occupation, the dark personality of the commanding officer of the garrison, Lieutenant Colonel James Cockburn and the influences which drove him to his own dishonour are equally part of this story. To present it, the author has gathered hitherto unpublished material in which the "glorious capture" is revealed for what it actually was: a naval and military fiasco and the most bizarre thieves' picnic of the century.
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