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Right Under their Noses
Crackpot Mailbox: Discussing Treasure Island and Boys
Wed, Oct 16, 10:26 AM (4 days ago)
Me and the boys are reading Treasure Island. I've never read it before.
Chapter 7 mentions that the squire Trelawney purchased a "boy" to be an "apprentice" at the Admiral Benbow Inn to help Jim Hawkins' mother run the place while he is gone at sea. Young Jim remarks that he could have helped the boy with his chores when he came back that last night, could've instructed him what his duties were, but instead just remarked that he didn't help him and the kid was up to his neck in miserable work. No mention whatsoever of the boy being a human, he was merely a beast of burden, was my impression at least. Anyway, hope you can use another foot note of white servitude.
Take care,
Tony

Tony, I had clean forgotten this and it is absent from all three film versions of the tale I have viewed, the best of which was the made for TV movie starring Christian Bale and Charlton Heston.
Some notes concerning your findings in Robert Louis Stevenson's masterpiece. He wrote in the later half of the 1800s and was responsible for Doctor Jekyl and Mister Hide as well as some great short stories of murder and horror.
His other book, Kidnapped, also made into film, was inspired by his research into the Anglo-Irish slave trade a century earlier.
Although you referred to your sons as "boys" no one in the 1600s or 1700s would, for boy meant nothing other than slave and your sons would be your lads. The fact that most folk had been slaves as children, often sold by parents, seems to have been responsible for the term boy being applied to all male children in America by the 1800s. Girl also meant slave, and lass is what you would call a free young woman or female child. Note that lad and lass held on longer in the British isles and is still in use despite American cultural hegemony, an indication that the much higher levels of child slavery in America can be traced in the language. Indeed, most unfree Americans bound for The Plantations were children from the British Isles.
A man servant to the leader of the expedition is killed during a battle on the island. I believe he is Gaelic, not English. This is another authentic note by Stevenson, as Scots, Irish and Welsh were often forced into military service and were prized and generally well-treated personal servants to English lords. In a world of slaves, being a war-slave is a good gig.
All of the colorful pirates in this novel set in the mid 1700s, would have been former slaves.
In the novel Candide, by Voltaire, written and set in the mid 1700s, the author names servants as necessary parts of all levels of social intercourse. Indeed, when his character and his servant discovers a utopia, even this utopia without money and violence is staffed by large gangs of slaves, slaves of the same race as their masters! Consider that one of his age's greatest imaginations could not conceive of an allegorical wonderland without slaves!
Treasure Island is the best father and son story ever written.
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Add Comment
LynnOctober 20, 2019 9:42 PM UTC

Tony, you need to lend the Boss "Danny, Champion of the World," when he gets back out there.
Ruben ChandlerOctober 20, 2019 8:26 PM UTC

Not to mention his writing 'The Invisible Man' totally racked on cocaine, administered IV by his nurse wife. I loved when he practically became king of Samoa. The natives loved him, built a huge house for him and still speak of him in reverent tones.