Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 07, 2015

An Interesting Tale


As you may know, I’m particularly fascinated by the story of the French Protestants who were killed at Matanzas near St. Augustine in 1565 simply because they happened to have the “wrong” faith and nationality. In the same vein, I found a very interesting tale which took place in St. Augustine in 1605. A band of Frenchmen had been trading with Indians along the Savannah River when Spanish ships arrived. To be honest, the French in this case weren’t exactly angels, being considered pirates, but worst of all in the eyes of Spanish Catholics, they were also Huguenots. They were taken to St. Augustine and subjected to a variety of priestly exhortations. The truth was that converting to the Catholic faith wasn’t going to save their lives. They were pirates --- they were going to die. Yet for some reason, these men, who numbered twenty-one, decided to join the Catholic Church, all except for one man.
Now, who was this man, and why and how did he remain true to his faith when none others did? He died with the others, yet out of all his companions, he refused to give in. One might say his comrades truly desired to die in the Catholic Church, and while I imagine some did, I would say that it would be unlikely for more than a few to feel a true calling. What did the Spaniards think of this fellow and his stubborn avowal of the Protestant faith? Fascinating stuff. And it perturbs me greatly that I will never know his name and story! Such is the life of a history lover . . .

Castillo de San Marcos

It’s pretty rare to have the Castillo to yourself, and I guarantee that when this photo was taken, someone was about to poke their head in the room. Here we see the first Spanish guardroom from the back of the room, near the fireplace. The entrance that leads into the main hall is to the right. The door to the left leads to the second Spanish guardroom. Before the 1750s, both guardrooms were part of one large chamber. I don’t know the purpose of the hole in the wall (center left) and couldn’t venture a guess. I’m pretty sure it’s not a cannonball hole, though there are indeed such scars on the outside walls.

 (c) 2015 St. Augustine Fridays

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