Monday, March 8, 2010

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 37

You've been reading Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon, but of late I've been uncovering secrets of a sunken cannon that does rival the Cannonsburg cannon and which will inevitably bring you closer to the Michigan cannon. Yes, I'm a compulsive storyteller, but this is the only way to educate ourselves about our lost heritages and cultures. The names of individuals, places and things are spread across America today. This blog is filled with Mary's.

During the life of Mary I, the other Mary, Queen of Scots known as Mary Stuart, the cousin of Mary I was born at the Palace of Linithgow, West Lothian, Scotland in December 1542. Mary S. was the only child daughter of King James V of Scotland and his second French wife Mary of Guise. Mary was described as a strikingly beautiful princess and related by birth to the Tudor line and had some claim to the English throne, however, she became a Catholic heiress to Scotland's throne. After Mary S. father King Jame's died six days after her birth, her mother Mary of Guise ruled Scotland as Regent and Mary S. was crowned Mary, Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle at age 9 months in 1543. The monarch's in Scotland immediately began seeking marriage proposals in France, too, to French dauphins. She was sent to live in France at French Court, where she was raised with four "Maries" all named Mary, the daughters of the nobelist families of Scotland: Beaton, Fleming, Livingston and Seton. Here I leave briefly to document more of Mary I history that I failed to mention previously.

In 1554 Mary Stuart was still at French Court in France. Mary I, being unwed at age 38 was seeking an heir so she married Philip II of Spain. Mary's father-in-law King Henri II of France was so proud of her he quartered the arms of England over Mary I coat of arms and those of her husband Phillip II of Spain and Sicily. Mary I died at age 42 in 1558 of dropsy (edema of body tissue) at St. Jame's Palace in London and was buried a month later at Westminster Abbey, London. Quartering of England's coat of arms with Spanish coat of arms was aheated source of controversy, but one must remember this wasn't during Elizabeth's reign, but Edward VI. Elizabeth didn't know it yet because she wasn't queen of England until 1558.

Life was going to be anything but easy for Queen Elizabeth. Since her coronation she was being challenged by Mary, Queen of Scots, the cousin of Catherine of Aragon, who after many years of schooling in France returned to Scotland where she hatched a vague plan to seize her legitimate throne in England. But in 1567 some disgruntled subjects assassinated her husband Lord Henry Stuart Darnley. The weak-willed narcissist killed Mary's secretary who was pregnant with his child. Darnley disgraced Mary's crown with his infidelity. He had a lust for power something Mary never granted him during marriage. She learned not to trust him, because of his lust for other women. After his death she married a man named James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell in 1568, who was the leading man who killed Darnley and her loyal catholic followers began to doubt her religious sincerity when they found out she married her husband's killer.

The following year Mary's rule was disfavored among scots and driven from power, but Mary set her sights on England. European rulers were horrified when prospects claimed she might try to enlist the help of commoners to revolt against Queen Elizabeth. They fear Mary might try to go abroad and raise an army of Catholic sympathizers to kill Elizabeth. Elizabeth feeling afraid felt the people who supported Mary might lock her up, so when Mary arrived in London seeking safety from Scottish dissidents Elizabeth seized the opportunity to arrest her and imprison her in the Tower of London 1568 from which Mary successfully plotted her escape for 19 years.

During three different occasions Elizabeth discovered that Mary had plotted to dethrone he while yet imprisoned with the Ridolfi Plot of 1571, the Duke de Guise Plot of 1582 and the Babington Plot of 1586. After the first two attempts failed Parliament in 1584 required that all Englishmen sign the Bond of Association in which they promised allegiance to Queen Elizabeth and promised to hunt down her killer. Parliament passed the Act in 1585 as preservation of the Queen's Safety and Mary, Queen of Scots was convicted, found guilty in the Babington Plot.

Mary, Queen of Scots, was a great source of Elizabeth's fear of succession and Elizabeth was livid and paranoid thinking that Mary was plotting to kill her, but Mary wouldn't acknowledge her as England's rightful heir to the throne. Queen Elizabeth anger intensified towards Mary, Queen of Scots, when Mary failed to sign the Treaty of Edinburgh, a favorable treatry to Elizabeth that prevented Mary of Guise and her family from using England's coat of arms. The treaty would force them to formally recognize Elizabeth as Queen of England and it stipulated that French forces be withdrawn from Scotland. In doing so Elizabeth would finally be free of conflicts with Mary, Queen of Scots' family, but Mary refused to ratify the Treaty of Edinburgh.

Mary thumbed her nose and Mary's heralds then emblazoned England in her coat of arms, which caused vehement fiery anger in Elizabeth. She sought Mary's head for the chopping block. Neither queen met each other face to face. Fear of each other produced such hatred that Europeans knew it could fuel a hot religious war. Remember Elizabeth was furious when she found out that Mary, Queen of Scots didn't sign the Treaty of Edinburgh and Elizabeth's anger towards Mary would necessitate the disposal of Mary's cannons with the meshed coat of arms and Mary I spanish cannons meshed with the coat of arms of Spain, France and England. It was also reasoable to assume that since Scotland was the mega-manufacturing center of cannon production in the 16th century its safe to assume that Mary, Queen of Scots coat of arms and England's coat of arms are meshed together on Scotland's cannons (1558-1587).

For coat of arm reasons the strange decorations on the cannon at ECU might be emblazoned with the coat of arms of Scotland and England, plus England, France and Spain. Elizabeth was so mad at Mary, Queen of Scots, she may have gotten rid of Mary's cannons by sending them with Sir Richard Grenville's ships to the New World and off loaded for pinnance protection of the Lost Colony. From John White's journal dated 1590 he writes they could not find the colonists or "any of the last falcons and small ordnances which were left with them, at my departure from them." Falcons, falconetts and robinets were generally manufactured as celebratory cannons founded before Kings and Queens. The ECU cannon might be from the colonist pinnance that floundered at sea or its from one of Grenville's fleet ship or another passing vessel. The cannon dredged from the bottom of the sea off Carolina might prove to be a Mary I, Mary, Queen of Scots era ordnance emblazoned over England's coat of arms. Queen Elizabeth's anger would necessitate the disposal of Mary's cannons with meshed coat of arms.

When Elizabeth died in 1603 her only living heir was James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Although Catholic by birth, he was continually fighting with Mary's scottish regents and nobles to exercise his right to govern Scotland. Some protestants wanted to silence the Catholic King so they kidnapped him, but James was smart and escaped and returned to the throne of Scotland. When Elizabeth died he became King James I of England (1603-1625) and James VI, the King of Scotland (1567-1625) as a Protestant. The laters most lasting legacy is the King James version of the Holy Bible, the best and most honored English translated language of many Protestants worldwide.

As of yet, the cannon at ECU hasn't been positively identified, but it is the strange decorations that hold the clue to the cannon's heritage and origination. The clue is in deciphering the decorations. Lots of treasure galleons sailed up and down the east coast with lots of sea battles and storms.

Robert Mather, a former student of Dr. Bradley Rodgers, now a professor of maritime history at the University of Rhode Island has been trying to find the remains of the cannon's shipwreck off the North Carolina and Virginia coast since 2007. During Queen Elizabeth's reign small poop and swivel deck guns called Falconetts were 2-inch caliber and weighed 500 pounds, the Falcons were 2.5 inch caliber weighing 800 pounds and robinetts shot the smallest projectiles weighing about a pound and weighed 300 pounds. This was the descrepancy in cannon poundage, since Falconetts varied from 44-65 inches in length and weighed up to 500 pounds. The lost colony cannon was reputed to be an old iron muzzleloader weighing 300 pounds, but was this a factual weight? Unknown too, was was the 2-pound ball made of lead rather than iron, because if iron it would weigh about 1.5 pounds, not two. English falcons during the 16th century also shot 2.5 to 3.5 pound balls, but overall weight was 800 pounds or more. What's even stranger is the fact that English falcons, falconets and robinets were out of military use about 1635, but still in production as celebratory pieces through the 18th century. They were last made about 1743, but were cast for special royal festivities.

Falcons and falconet cannons were known as "Birds of Prey" by the English navy during the reign of King James I, King of England (1603-1625). The Cannonsburg Cannon is a Bird of Prey, which is another secret I shall devulge later.

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