He named me Ballymodan Haggertys. He missed Cork enough to name me after his place of birth. My place of birth was Barbados. Patrick Haggertys was torn from his home during the ethnic cleansing started by Cromwell and his Roundheads in the late 1640's. It is said that over 100,000 countrymen were stolen from our homeland and sold into slavery for the sugar trade. Their crime? Being Irish Catholic. Seems the God we believed in quit believing in us.
He told me of the lashings, punished by whipping, strung up by the hands and matches lighted between their fingers, beaten over the head until blood ran. Though I never saw it, I didn't have to doubt; I saw the FT branded on his forehead for 'fugitive traitor.' He recieved that when he first tried to escape to Tortuga. He would endure though when he met another 'indentured servant' named Maggie.
The two fell in love and kept their love quiet out of fear. The fear grew greater when Maggie came to be with child. She was safe for now for the Plantation Owner assumed it was his. That was quickly cast aside though when I came to be in 1678, for my flame red hair made it obvious I was not his. The plantation owner immediately killed Maggie. That was his his last mistake. Patrick was filled with a rage that would not stop him this time. He never told me this part, but I could imagine. The sugar filled soil was blood filled that night, and Patrick would be free. He never would tell me how he got us off the island, but got us off he did.
We made it to Tortuga, a place settled by outcasts. There was irony in that He would say, for Haggertys was from the Gaelic Ó h-Ógartaigh or fógartach meaning one who has been declared an outlaw. He didn't talk much about Maggie unless he talked about my fire red hair I got from her. He said it reminded him of the peat fires used to distill fine Irish Whisky. He did talk of Ireland though... every chance he got. The Irish were stolen from their land and taken as slaves in order that they might forget who they were, that they might become ' good English Christians.' Patrick would not allow me to forget who I was.
In 1690, Patrick's health began to fail him. He was weathered and worn but not broken. At twelve, I worked the docks when by chance I would meet French sailors, off to fight for the Marquis de St Ruth with the Jacobites against William of Orange. When I told my father this, he signed us both up for the fight. I could hardly believe, but we were making passage shortly there after to Connacht, a place where you could still be Irish.
Patrick would never make it back to his beloved Ireland, as the years of hardship took there toll. I was able to convince my new French friends to not bury him at sea, but to bring where he could rest at last...home. I was soon learning many jobs on-board, eager to get us home faster. I am uncertain of the months we were at sea, but not uncertain of the moment I frst saw her. Ireland was not a stranger to me, for Patrick taught me of her. It would not take me long to find a green patch to lay Patrick to rest.
I was ready to march against William, against England who had done this to my father, to my home. My French friends would have a different idea. They said I was too young. They managed to secure me with a Irish Priest who swore his protection. The summer of 1691 was soon upon us when the word of Aughrim would come. This was yet another crushing defeat in our morale, yet another reason to hate.
I would grow up a rogue, stealing from Brittish supplies every chance I got. This was getting me a pretty pence, but not satisfaction. I needed a way to hurt Brittain greater then what I was doing. I decided to return to the sea, to the islands where fate brought me out. I would use my small treasure to buy a ship and crew who had their own reasons to hate. The fire still burned in me like the peat fires. I would take that and burn Brittain.
In 1718 I set sail for Tortuga. I would remember my father when I took the name Whiskey Pete. They would know that name when I came across any Brittish Merchant dealing in lives, or sugar or rum. They would know that name when I found any ship protecting them. They will burn for my father. They will burn for the mother I never knew. They will burn for Ireland.