Published On: Tue, Jan 30th, 2018

Hiram Beakes of Saba

Jacob Gelt Dekkerby Jacob Gelt Dekker

Sex, romance, and true love played out with Hiram Beakes. Hiram Beakes was a young man and a scion of the ruling family on the island of Saba. His story of licentious sex that turned into true love, stolen gold, ruthless murder, and a dreadful suicide is something no author could have made up; the Hiram account is true history.He was born as the second son of the Councilor of the Island and had lived nothing but a privileged and protected youth. Naturally, like any young man, he was eager to venture out into the world. By the grace of his father, he mustered onto a crew as an apprentice of a trade ship, The Adventurer, on the shuttle route Saba-Vlissingen.

In 1764, the 19-year-old sailor crossed the Atlantic and set foot on land in Vlissingen for the first time. Upon arrival, he made a courtesy call to pay his respects to his employer, Mr. Snyder, and his wife. Mrs. Snyder was a brunette of Antwerp and only half the age of her wealthy husband. The lady had a roving eye. Hiram, hardly more than a boy, was instantly lost to the lust of the lady, and became the object of great intrigue for the sophisticated woman. The lady played the boy at her whims. Caution and discretion were hardly her trade. She may have looked for a gigolo, but instead abused an inexperienced teenage boy.

When Mr. Snyder suddenly died, supposedly from poisoning, accusing fingers of the community immediately pointed at the young man and his mistress. Hiram and Snyder’s widow were charged with murder, but by a lack of evidence, or maybe appropriate payments under the table, the couple was acquitted.

The traumas and the intricacies of passion, love, murder, and public scandal were too much for the young man. Going through the intense sentiments of love and eventual murder, the cautious adolescent matured quickly and turned into a reckless outlaw. Almost overnight, the spineless lover boy became a foolhardy daredevil. Out of revenge, Hiram stole the ship The Adventurer from his former patrons and employers. Once re-rigged, and with beginners’ luck, Hiram used the boat in a raid on a Chilean vessel, The Acapulco, laden with 200,000 small gold bars. Hiram brutally murdered the Chilean crew in the most despicable manner.

The loot of The Acapulco was large enough for Hiram to buy a Lettre de Marque, a pirate license, from the governor of Gibraltar. Thus, a new pirate was born. Under the adagio ‘dead men tell no tales,’ Hiram pillaged, plundered, and murdered six days a week, except on Sabbath, the Day of the Lord. Every Saturday he congregated his entire crew on deck in a devout and solemn religious service, begging the Lord for the forgiveness of their many sins.

Hiram suffered intensely under his deadliest of all sins, fornication. His carnal pleasures and lascivious escapes with Mrs. Snyder were against Biblical ethics that he had grown up with and held dearly. After all, Leviticus left no room for misinterpretation”:

None of you shall approach anyone to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord.

Pirate or no pirate, one time on a ransack and plunder of a convent on the Balearic Islands, Hiram sensed the inevitable that was about to happen; the licentiousness of his lusting crew would inevitably result in the rapturous debauchery of the nuns. As Captain and Commander, he intervened by marrying all nuns to his crew, so, at least, the orgy about to happen could be condoned as marriages consummated in sanctity.

One day, when his shame and anger fell silent, the love-starved Hiram decided to return to Zealand, marry his mistress, and head back for his home harbor on the island of Saba. But upon arrival in Vlissingen, he learned that the criminal courts of Holland and Zealand had prevailed upon his mistress. She had been convicted and hanged for attempting to poison their love child, the child he had fathered.

Hiram went raving mad. Loyal to his faith, Hiram followed in Jesus’ footsteps in driving out the demons that had taken possession of his soul. He carefully followed Scripture, Matthew 8: 31, that reads,

‘and the demons begged him, saying, If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.’

At home, on the island of Saba, Hiram had lived on a rock in the ocean with sheer cliffs, but Vlissingen had nothing like that. Like the demons in Matthew, who were sent into a herd of pigs that jumped off the cliffs, Hiram had to settle for second best and threw himself off the dike at the Schelde River. He suffocated in the mud of the sandbars at the bottom.

Yes, it is a sad story for a young man who had everything and wasted it all. It was a tragedy.