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‘In this Lonely Cell’
A Summation of The LIFE, TRIAL, CONFESSION AND EXECUTION of ALBERT W. HICKS
Below is content and commentary from a book of late Plantation America, read on 8/15/19 on a westbound train.
*****
The LIFE, TRIAL, CONFESSION AND EXECUTION of ALBERT W. HICKS, THE PIRATE AND MURDERER, EXECUTED ON BEDLOE'S ISLAND, new york bay, On the 13th of July, 1860, FOR THE MURDER OF CAPT. Bur, SMITH AND OLIVER WATTS, ON BOARD THE OYSTER SLOOP E. A. JOHNSON. CONTAINING THE HISTORY OF HIS LIFE (WRITTEN BY HIMSELF) FROM CHILDHOOD CP TO THE TIME OF HIS ARREST.
WITH A FULL ACCOUNT OF HIS PIRACIES, MURDERS, MUTINIES, HIGH-WAY ROBBERIES, ETC., COMPRISING THE PARTICULARS OF NEARLY ONE HUNDRED MUEDERS! TO WHICH IS ADDED THE ACCOUNT OF HIS ARREST, IMPRISONMENT, TRIAL AND EXECUTION ALSO, HIS PHRENOLOGICAL CHARACTER, AS DESCRIBED BY L. N. FOWLKR. Office U. S. Marshal, I Southern District of New York, J I hereby certify that the within Confession of Albert W. Hicks was made by him to me, and that It is the only confession made by him.
LORENZO DB ANGELIS, Dtp. U. & Marshal. NEW YORK : THE DE WITT PUBLISHING HOUSE,
While Thomas Hellier, in 1678, emerges from the fractured and buried record of Plantation America as its first civil serial killer, as opposed to military butchers such as Lane in 1585, Albert W. Hicks lingers as the last. It is of interest that the manner of the published accounts, down to “his phrenological character” has remained so similar over two centuries, with the prime differences being:
-more sophisticated printing and greater density of information in later times,
-the impossibility of Hicks escaping the Plantation Society he has been waging a one man guerilla war against, much like the later fiend Carl Panzram, both of whom had to skulk like condensed versions of the man-eating system within its very guts as they preyed upon its fellow inmates and trustees alike, every bit as bad as that which spawned them. Hellier had not the grit or the wits to make his way in the wilderness and gave himself back to the system he had lashed out at. However, many mass murders such as Hellier and Lane, had ample opportunity to flee the system and become bandits and Indians and join large scale pirate societies through 1730. By permitting Hicks to speak for himself, perhaps we may appreciate that not all—or not even many—of the American Spartacus aspirants who revolted against the system as conspirators, terrorists, bandits and revolutionaries were any better than the monstrous thing that was Plantation America.
Furthermore, considering the [organic or Deep State contrived] prevalence of serial killers in the United States compared to other European-Based societies, one might wonder as to whether or not the mass cruelty that saw more than 3 million souls of all races enslaved to build this nation over 250 years, has a causal relationship to America as a mass killing mecca of the world and the nation with the single greatest number of men and women housed in the very institutions that descended directly from the Plantations [penitentiaries and prison farms] and gaols [jails] of old, not to mention the mandatory public indoctrination facilities, many guarded by police, called schools, which have as their antecedents workhouses, child apprenticeships and forced indentures.
I give you the overture of a guilt-enchained monster who obviously related his story to an accomplished hack writer.
“I can stand it no longer. I had hoped that I should carry the secrets of my life with me to my grave. I never thought that I should sit here in my cell crying like a baby, over the remembrance of the past, or that my heart would flinch at meeting any fate in store for me. I fancied I bore a charmed life, and that having heretofore escaped so many dangers, I should find some loop-hole through which to creep now, or that something would turn up in my favor which would lead to my escape from the mesh into which I had fallen.
“I have long felt as though I were the Devil's own, and that though he had served me so many years, I must at last be his ; still I imagined he would not claim me yet, but allow me to do his work for a time longer. He has stood by me all my life, on ship and on shore; amid the howling storms of the ocean, where every moment the waves threatened to ingulf me, he has snatched me from their deadly embrace; on the battle-field, in many a hand-to-hand fight he has seemed to stand by my side, protecting me from danger; and when I have been in the hands of my enemies, and escape has appeared impossible, he has, until now, invariably opened the way for my release. But at last he has deserted me ; in vain I call upon him, he will not answer me; and I dare not call on God, for what pity should he show a guilty wretch like me ?
“For years conscience has slumbered; I have not heard her voice at all. No deed of desperation has seemed to me too desperate; no crime has seemed too dark or bloody. My soul seemed dead to all remorse or dread, and fear has been a feeling which, until now, I have never known.
“But in this lonely cell, away from all the excitements which have always been the support of my restless nature—within these solemn walls, where I see none but those who guard me, or those come to look at me, as upon some wild beast ; here, where no sounds fall upon my ear but the footsteps of the keeper, as he paces with measured tread the long corridor outside, or harsh, discordant clank of heavy doors slamming, or the grating of bolts and the creaking of hinges—conscience, so long dead, has at last awakened, and now stings me with anguish, and fills my soul with dread and horror.”
ALBERT W. HICKS, THE PIRATE.
Albert’s relations of his crimes include many of the crimes committed by restive slaves against their masters, beginning with banditry, which comprised the usual activities of the most strident runaways, who formed holdout communities of insurgents. Albert also committed a number of cruel murders of those who trusted him along the lines of Nat Turner and the uprising Indians of Pennsylvania and the embittered Continental veterans of Shay’s and Confederate veterans turned outlaw in the decade following Albert’s confession.
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Add Comment
TonyOctober 11, 2019 1:30 PM UTC

So glad that you are writing about Hicks. Can't wait to read more.

He was the last man publicly executed in New York City, and the last american to be convicted of piracy.

Hicks, Carlisie, Panzram, Black, are all better story tellers than 99.9% of "real writers".
responds:October 12, 2019 11:25 AM UTC

Thanks for the heads up on this, Tony.