Thomas Boyle Attacks Four Opponents At Once, And Beats Them All

Privateers were used extensively by the United States during the War of 1812.  The young American Navy did not have the money, resources, or manpower to conduct naval operations along the entirety of its vast coastline; it found it expedient to commission private parties to carry out some of its objectives. 

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Charlemagne Instructs On The Moral Requirements Of Leadership

We do not know the precise location of Charlemagne’s birthplace.  He donned the crown at the ripe age of twenty-nine in 771 A.D. upon the death of Carloman II.  From that moment he became embroiled in an almost ceaseless series of military campaigns designed both to expand his frontiers and safeguard them; in this turbulent age, kings needed to fight as well as administrate.  Historians tell us that he undertook around fifty-three campaigns, and personally commanded most of them. 

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Anecdotes From The Court Of Charlemagne

The chronicler known to posterity as Notker the Stammerer (“Notker Balbulus”) was born in what is now Switzerland around A.D. 840.  He seems to have come from a family that had the means to provide him with the best education his era could offer.  We find him in adulthood as a monk at the monastery at St. Gall, where he was able to exercise his considerable musical talents in composing verses and hymns. 

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A Heinous And Remorseless Maritime Killer

I first learned of the following story in a long-forgotten book of maritime lore entitled Unsolved Mysteries of Sea and Shore.  Authored by Edward Snow, it was published in only one edition in 1963.  As it is a difficult volume to procure, it will be useful for me to retell the tale here in abbreviated form, so that readers can form their own conclusions on the purposes of an elusive and sinister figure named William Kellogg Thompson.

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Breakout From Britain

Gunther Plüschow, Germany’s legendary escape artist of the First World War, was born to a  well-traveled family in Munich on February 8, 1886.  He was taken by his family to Rome at an early age, and was fortunate to have grown up amid the Eternal City’s bustle, ruins, and excitement; it was there that he acquired his facility with languages and adroitness in maneuvering his way out of trouble. 

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The Chesapeake-Leopard Affair And Its Tragic Aftermath

To understand the incident that has come to be called the Chesapeake—Leopard Affair, we must first understand the political and diplomatic circumstances that existed between the young United States and the European superpowers at the outset of the nineteenth century. 

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The Terrifying Wreck Of The “São João”

By the close of the fifteenth century, the maritime enterprise of Portugal had established a reliable network of trading routes from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian Ocean.  These routes were won at great cost; we note the results of the budding Age of Exploration, but forget the fearsome human toll that this Age exacted.  Shipwreck, loss at sea, loss of life on land, loss of property:  any one of these misfortunes—or a combination of them—could befall the intrepid explorer or trader at any time. 

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Escape From Fort Warren

Fort Warren is a pentagonal fortress located on Georges Island in Boston Harbor.  Older reference works call the island “George’s Island,” while modern texts have removed the apostrophe; readers can decide for themselves which spelling is more authentic.  The island’s fortress was one of the most solidly constructed and intimidating military installations of nineteenth century America. It is, in fact, more of a dungeon than a fortress. 

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The Mysterious Disappearance Of Captain Blakely And The “Wasp”

The premise of John Carpenter’s 1980 horror film The Fog is an intriguing one.  In the 1800s, we are told, a Captain Blake and his crew were lured to their deaths by townspeople who had set up a false beacon near some coastal rocks.  The ship was dashed against the rocks at night; Blake and all hands were lost.  But many generations later, the spirits of the murdered captain and his crew would wreak a brutal vengeance from beyond their watery graves. 

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The Incredible Survival Of Augustine Le Bourdais

The ability to survive is dependent on both a strong physical constitution and an unshakeable determination.  While both of these ingredients are necessary, experience has shown that the will to live easily surpasses physical robustness in relative importance.  He whose actions are in accordance with his nature, truly lives.  Sir Thomas Browne was entirely correct when he said in his essay Religio Medici:  

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