Sunday, September 6, 2015
9/6/15 Report - Bernard Romans And The 1715 Fleet. Tropical Storm Grace.
Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.
You might know the name Bernard Romans. In 1775 he wrote the book, A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida. As luck would have it, he turned out to be a well known name in treasure history. It wasn't his intent. He wasn't a treasure hunter. He just happened to mention the shipwrecks of the 1715 Fleet that littered the area around Sebastian River back in the 1770s.
In 1962, the University of Florida Press reprinted his book, and it became a resource that was read by those seeking more information about the shipwrecks and the pistareens mentioned by Romans that were found in the sand after "strong eastern gales."
As is the case so often, history is produced by the alignment of circumstances. Some moments become highlighted in the story of man - disproportionately so - sticking out in memory like stars in a night sky. Many more moments, just as important and just as necessary, fade from memory and are never told. The fact that they fade into oblivion makes them no less important and no less necessary to the flow of events.
Isn't it the little things we do, the countless moments, tasks and dreams that fill the vast space between the few over-remembered times and events that really makes us who we are?
Everyone knows the name Shakespeare, but who actually knows the man? Who really cares? Is he anymore than a name? He is not your grandma, brother, wife or son. He doesn't touch your life like any one of them. And he doesn't touch other's lives like you do today.
We need statues and monuments, They may be hollow, but they are shared. As much myth as fact, they provide the tapestry of human consciousness that unites us with a sense of common story.
Hidden in life are countless precious moments much like gold coins buried under sand. Many remain undiscovered. They just don't grab our attention at the time. They are just there.
Maybe moments like that are not important to anyone but you, but that makes them all the more unique and rare. They belong to you and are to be shared with those you care about the most. Take the time to seek out those moments, dig them up, hold them, admire them, jump up and down, share, and celebrate, like they were the most precious treasure you ever imaged.
I certainly didn't know where that was going when I started. I'll leave it there for now even though it may seem a rambling meaningless mess to many of you. It is more me than most of what I write.
Back to Bernard Romans. He was a historical figure in many ways, though most of us know him for his mention of the 1715 Fleet. He was a real person - a complex and many talented person at that. He was a botanist, engineer and participant in the Revolutionary War.
The original printing of his book is rare and valuable. Those who later used it for research undoubtedly read the 1962 reprint. The original is that rare.
I highly recommend reading the Introduction to the reprint edition written by Partick Rembert. It tells a lot about Romans and his work.
You might find much of the book of interest. Romans mentions other shipwrecks and hurricanes as well as many interesting observations on the nature of Florida at the time.
Here is a link to the complete online book.
Here is a sample page. At the bottom of this page you will see his mention of the pistareens.
As you can see, they use "f" for "s."
It is an interesting book.
Thanks to the University of Florida Press for reprinting the book and making it available online.
On the Treasure Coast we'll have a one foot surf for the next couple of days.
Fred is sputtering out in the mid-Atlantic.
We now have Tropical Storm Grace that could head this way. Here is the projected path of Grace.