Libertalia, which, in truth, may be completely fictional, is called a pirate settlement, though the man who spearheaded it claimed he wasn't actually a pirate. And it was set up as a sort of utopia, where men governed themselves, and every man was equal.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Today I thought we were due for a little bit of fun summer. Pirate time this is kind of a funny story. It's a little kooky. This is a subject that goes by two names, depending on the source you're looking at. Sometimes you will hear it is Liberty, Shia,
The tea ending. Some of it is liberty, failure with an airway ending, that's all of those things that even indifferent printings of the same book. You will see it both ways depending on the bridge.
Curse decision. I presume the other part. That's fun is that this May or may not have been a real thing yet, but it is an interesting thing to examine the primary account that we have
of liberty area is from a general history of the robberies and murders of the most notorious pirates, visitin volume to so. If you go looking on line and you only give volume one, you will not find this and be like what you said. This was in here volume to now and published in seventeen twenty eight, the writing list. Its author, as Captain Charles Johnson and we're gonna circle back to more specifics about its authorship at the end, we ve talked about it on the show before as well, but we will revisit it and the idea that a bunch of pirates wanted to create a utopia of
quality, which is what this story is, might seem a little bit far fetched. But it does sound a lot like other utopian experiments. We ve talked about just said earlier on the timeline and with a high seas theme, and there are also some instances. We know about of pirates kind of trying to do that which will talk about at the end and its also at a place in the
world, that there were definitely alot of pirates. Yes, we talk about that at the end is well in liberty which, in truth, as we said, might be completely fictional, would have been settled some time it probably in the late seventeenth century and that's just base kind of on backdating from when the book was published, because we don't have much in terms of specific dates. Beyond that sore gonna go through
the whole story of this unique pirate settlement, as laid out in the general history by Johnson, and then we will talk about the other author, who usually gets credit for writing his story and whether that history has roots in reality,
story of libertarian begins with a man named missile. He was a Frenchman born in Provence to a good family, the name of the family as purposefully left out of the general history of pirates to safeguard their reputation. While me, sons, father
did pretty well. There were so many children and the family that he knew
Did you go make his own way in the world rather than depending on any in
irritants, which is a popular pirate. Origin story. Yes, indeed, this one kind of as we go through you'll find checks, kind of all the boxes of popular pirate store, but it also has the fun one of we're. Not pirates. Soap me so was educated in humanity. Logic and mathematics and then at age fifteen was sent to Angier in western France for a year of millet
training and per Charles Johnson's account, which he claims is sourced from missiles own writing about his life missiles. Father had a life
musketeer in mind for his son, but me saw had decided on a life at sea, so my son's father
The letters of recommendations in all of the items he might need and then arranged for a volunteer stent aboard the Victoire, which was a ship commanded by
A relative named monsieur for by the young me saw aboard the Victoire departed, the port at my
say and ventured into the Mediterranean, miss all learned.
navigation and life at sea and he spent his early time on the Victoire learning all that he could from the more experienced men aboard according to the story, he just was constantly asking
questions, and he loved to being a sailor, and he was well regarded because of his really well mannered demeanor. But when the Victoire says that into port and Naples, Masons Life course changed, he got permission from the captain to go wish
or and a travel and when to Rome, but what he found there was really disheartening. He was really sugar,
and that all the licentiousness and the indulgence of the people court. He really lost his faith. Deciding that quote all
Religion was no more than a curb upon the minds of the weaker, which the wiser sort yield to in appearance only
And while in Rome me song, who was pretty devout at that point, went to confession and indeed
so he met a quote: lewd priest by the name of Karachi Ali who was dominican and while making the acquaintance of a man of the church, who was not exactly a pillar of piety solidified missiles, perceptions that the church was corrupt. He in Karachi only became friends and they actually would remain companions for the rest of their lives. Karachi only told me so that a life in the church was a pretty good gig and came with France and opportunities, and quote the ecclesiastical state was govern with the same policy as were secular, but
Poverty is an kingdoms that what was beneficial not what was meritorious and virtuous would be alone regarded. He likened the pay
sissy to a monarchy, to explain the situation to miss son and he explain his own contempt. The whole structure, saying quote for my part, I am quite tired of the farce and will lay hold on the first opportunity to throw off this masquerade.
inhabit. The priest went on to say that he was worried that by the time he stayed in the church long enough to make a tidy living so that he could leave. Then he would be too old to enjoy
any of it so miss all proposed that the priest joined him on the seas, and so the two men too,
together to Lavoro ITALY, to meet back up with the Victoire and with me solves recommendation, Karachi Ali was welcomed onto the crew
most immediately. Karachi only got a taste of the dangers of sailing life. The Victoire was engaged in a law,
long and brutal battle with two other ships. Karachi Ali was shot in the leg in this conflict and it was a massive struggle, but ultimately the Victoire one. There wasn't much value to take from the best that opponents, but an estimated fifteen Christian.
Slaves were freed in the process after the battle, the battle damage to be twice had back in some are safer for repair and massage use the downtime to visit his family.
bringing perpetually along with him. He also brought with him word from the captain that meets on have conducted himself admirably
at sea area, and I sent a letter to show his parents and is doing a good job after a month of rest. The captain of the Victoire sent word to missile and his friend that they were to set sail
again leaving from our say to go to Rochelle to pick up merchant men and sail for the West Indies
the crew waited at Rochelle for the next phase of the journey, the merchant ships that they were to join with weren't ready to set sail. We saw in Karachi only decided to take work on another vessel in the meantime because he did not like to be able at all
They got into some adventures along the way, but the more important part of their escapades as related in the general history was their ongoing discussion of religion and God, through these discussions, we saw was adopting a deists philosophy
continuing to just turn away from all organised religion. There's a chunk of tax that several paragraphs long and which the writer seems to be sorting
his own thoughts on the matter of God and the sole gradually continued to speak on religion, both with Miss sullen and with the other sailors on their journeys and ass. Such he became something of a religious leader simultaneously because both correct Julie,
and my son had become a highly skilled sailors. A lot of the men they travelled with were really looking up to both of them. Yeah, there's a US,
Wonderful irony that Karachi only wants to leave the church. Big see things organised. Religion is not for him either and then he started becomes a religious leader after it's kind of a fascinating twist. So, on a cruise to Martinique, the Victoire was engaged in battle by an english man of war with forty gun,
it's called the wind Chelsea. The early battle took a serious toll on the leadership of the Victoire. The captain. Second captain and three lieutenants were all killed very early on so short on officers me some in Karachi Ali who had always been
We need to step up when needed, began, giving orders and leading the remaining Victoire crew. They were victorious, but this was actually by accident.
Because, for reasons unknown, the wind Chelsea exploded killing. All of its crew save one lieutenant who died two days later, aboard the Victoire and after the conflict with the wind, Chelsea, gradually saluted.
we saw as captain and told him that he must make a choice to return, support and be at the mercy of other means decisions or to take the Victoire as his own and make his fortune Nissan opted for freedom, but stated to the ascent
old crew. That quote a great number of them had resolved with him upon a life of liberty and had done him the honor, to greet him chief that he designed to force no man and be guilty of that injustice. He blamed and others
therefore, if any were averse to the following his fortune, which he promise should be the same to all he desired, they would declare themselves and he would set the mature whence they might return with conveniency.
They could basically opt out of this sort of life of piracy, but his
was instead met with shouts of Vive la Kapital me song, but is also
the origin story of most of pirate crews. Yes, I meant to be
Oh you guys. You don't have to come with me, but if you want to you, let's go: let's go
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So we saw immediately set the town.
Of his leadership. By giving the crew the power to select their own officers, then their next destination was agreed upon. As a group, we saw suggested the coast of Spain. All of the men were in accord with that course, then they had to decide on their colours and at this point, Karachi only was quick to clarify that they were in fact not pirates quote, but men who were resolved to assert that liberty, which God and nature gave them, and oh no subjection
any farther than was for the common good of all, so he advised that they fly under a white flag, quote with Liberty painted on the fly next
belongings of all the officers who were slain in the fight with the wind Chelsea were brought on the deck
The money on board was put into a chest which was declared to belong equally to all the men. The lieutenants were asked to make an assessment
the men on board and determine who had immediate need of Claire's that they could be prioritize to receive the clauses of the deceased man. We soon followed this up with a speech that the
should all show one another brotherly, love and cast aside any grudges they had and that they should see one another as equals quote, for win. Equity was trodden underfoot, misery, confusion and mutual distrust naturally followed. It sounds so I d, like everybody loved one.
We're all in this together, but it was not all. Have you brought me some, as he also declared war on any ports that would deny them entry and any who would not give them what they needed,
basically saying so. We know we're not pirates, but other people might not get that and if they treat us like we're pirates, we're gonna have to get piratical. He did also admonish his men to always treat prisoners humanely and generously for the sake of their immortal, souls
the Victoire and its crew then did some plundering in the most polite way possible. They took sugar and rum from a ship without violence and then let it go. They made fake rooms at privateers, with
we intend to actually engage them, bearing the ship would try to take them, which meant that they could then defend themselves. At one point me sullen told her privateer captain that he would plunder nothing from the captured ship, but that they would strip of guns and the privateers had to promise not to enjoy
Jim piracy for six months. They made their way around the globe. For awhile and eventually missile had two ships under his command. He had taken a ship whose crew was so
charmed that they all opted to join with him. And at this point, Karachi Ali was named captain of the second ship, which was named the Bijou and the two vessels made their way around the cape of good hope and then on to Madagascar.
methought allied himself to the royal family of an island near Madagascar in a conflict with a neighbouring kingdom. He also Mary,
into the royal family, and so did correctly only men of the crew.
Married, not royal women of the island of Johanna, which is my.
they argue, and we thought his men helps to defend people up
Island against invaders. Now there was actually
an invasion by the queen's brother that they defended against, and they were always the good guys in this story. So not long after those events me saw made his way to nearby.
Whether in Madagascar, any scope down an area of land that appeal to him
and then he went ashore and he found good. Sir.
He'll there and available fresh water, and he decided that he wanted to settle a town there and this place that he envisioned would have docks and it would be an asylum
a place for aging men of the sea to live out the remainder of their lives in peace, and he would call it labour tell you miss all waited for his entire crew to agree to his plans before actually began the project.
All of the man agreed to the plan and they immediately set to work on his designs and within ten days they had cleared a hundred and fifty large trees from area. He requested that the road
Family of Joanna Loan him three hundred men to help with the project. In return for the assistance that had been provided in their defence and after a great deal of debate
among the leaders of that island, some of whom feared that enable
the settlement, could lead to their own enslavement down the road. The three hundred men were loan for labour yeah allotted
The discussion centred around wait. We're gonna help them.
build a place from which they could actually come after us.
And it was like well maybe, but that's
then saying no to them and having them come after us now right linked in this way, we at least have a chance. There will still be friends at Liberty area was set,
the harbour and the first structures that were built were armed forts on either side of it and then home.
and shops were built in the town. Slowly began to take shape. Efforts were made to make friends with the native peoples of Madagascar, of course,
That is one of those things that is also always framed from a very european perspective. So take that as note, if you go looking for this story- liberal
he was on its way to becoming the peaceful settlement that Ms Zone had envisioned when he first ventured onto the land, Libertarian was anti slavery. This is something that comes up throughout this account me song and his men liberated slave ships. Whenever they came across them and on occasions when slaves were offered to them as barter, they would always accept them and then immediately set them. Free me saw one of the people.
who chose to settle in liberty earlier to be called LE burying the idea was that it was open to all and that it transcended any prior nationality and signalled a community of equals. Libertarian wasn't miss, sounds only focus during this formative time, though he still took the victoire Victoire out to challenge ships and take their goods, and he met with a mix of good and bad luck on the sea and one skirmish with a portuguese ship. He was able to take a large sum of money, which is about two hundred thousand pounds, but he also lost fifty six men in the process, making it the greatest loss of life, but he experienced in this kind of conflict, but he made his way home to the developing town of Libertarian
And from its rudimentary beginnings, the land was worked to grow food and the town was able to barter whether their villages, they ended up with several hundred head of cattle, but in addition to growing its footprint and its own
Jobs, liberty area also grew in population, because other people came,
live there, including the english privateer Captain Thomas to me, so had first encountered to win.
spiders sloop appeared in the waters off the coast of Madagascar. It appeared there might have been a potential idea that they were going to take this new text
but eventually things lead to two and his men joining the colony at liberty. Failure if his name sounds familiar, he was part
episode about Henry Every and the raid on the move fleet. He pops up in a lot of places. He was a very busy world traveller. He was.
We saw into didn't always see things in the same light, though even when two first arrived in Libertarian, Miss Hale was also coming in with a portuguese ship that he had taken me. Some quickly realized that if they were going to keep
the prisoners they had taken, they would need men to be on guard against an uprising which meant he wouldn't have enough men to go back out to sea, and while he had established the settlement as a whole bay
and as the place where any mariner could call home, he wanted to continue his voyages as long as he could. He was so
having a settlement and was to be clear, getting supplies and fortifications and wealth by taking them from ships that he bested, even if you
being polite about it. If you don't want to lose sight of the fact that he was stealing from people, even if he seems like a great magnanimous, dude Gavin a build, a pirate utopia,
funded by piracy, but I'm not calling it that you guys, we are not pirates unless people treat us like pirates and then we kind of got to be pirates a little bit. It's there's a moral flexibility in the mix of this old story, so he had planned to just let the ship, the portuguese ship that he had taken and its prisoners go
he also just didn't. Want to take on the load of having to see to the needs of all those captured men like to him. This was just way too great a burden for any value they were gonna get out of it, but to an even Karachi,
Molly. We're not fans of this idea of letting everybody go. They knew that if they set those prisoners free all of Europe Woods,
no about liberty, failure and would invade me. Some call the council unexplained has the position and the men of the council agreed with him all the prisoners were
before me, so he told them that he knew that they would cause his demise bet that he could cause their debts if he wished
and then he needed them, eat to swear an oath not to work against him
then he gave it to them back any belongings that have been taken from them and set them to sail on a ship that was stripped of all of its guns. Do I feel like so much of his leadership is based on the lake. We call for this.
all approach array, I the next move for liberty
It was actually a way for this. Everybody be cool freedom and no rules, approach that it began with, but we will talk about that after we first hear from one of our sponsors, this episode of stuff, you missed in history classes, brought to you by Norton three sixty with lifelong, what they your shopping online with a smartphone. Its super feels like ear. Personal information is just right there in your hand, but that's not always the case, because, as soon as you hit submit your personal information could
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Why are we
The idea of a utopia always sounds agree in theory. In practice, it is really hard to throw a bunch of humans,
other tell them? They all equally share in the land in the work and have the whole thing chug
without any conflict. They are humans. After all, and while things seem to work with me, souls original group after two and his men became part of liberty. Leah conflict:
to arise on one occasion, Libertarian was invaded by portuguese sloops. The battle played out at me sounds men were victorious and they treated the defeated men who survived with kindness and hospitality until they saw two of the man who had been set free under oath, not to bring any trouble into the settlement is two men were tried for perjury found guilty and executed, and this cause some men to question. My son's leadership on me saw in Karachi only sought his execution as a matter of self preservation of their way of life. Some of the men saw it as a contradiction of everything they ve been told about labour.
oh yeah, and about its values, eventually Karachi, only with able to convince everyone of the necessity of the execution, but it took a lot of effort and rhetoric. Yet he sat sounds based on this account like he was really quite a good public speaker, but he was often convincing off the end of of what should be done
but then, not long after this, there was an argument between two men and we solve. The nature of this argument is little unclear. Although the accounts, as the two men started, it too thought that the matter should be solved with swords, but me saw in Karachi only wanted to negotiate some sort of accord. It did not want to set up their new little utopia as a place where you settled your disagreements
by potentially killing each other, and while they sorted out the matter at hand and they figured out how to settle this particular argument, all three of the captain's came to the conclusion that it was actually time for libertarian to have some actual laws. So everyone, the entire colony, was gathered so that the three commanders could explain this plan. They had to have some sort of government and miss all for actually into proposed a democratic system with laws made by the p
the man words have to divide themselves into groups of ten and from each group. One representative was to be chosen who would assist in setting up the laws and the government of the settlement property,
and land were to be divided evenly, but that it would be owned by each man. It would know
or by a system of collective ownership. On the first day that the newly selected lawmakers met, Karachi only made a speech and propose that there should be a Lord conservator, basically a president. They would be elected and would serve for terms of three years. So he can be re elected
but every three years they would revisit that. An all agreed and, of course, me song, wasn't me
we made conservator in two was named as conservator admiral in Karachi, Ali was Secretary of State and for TAT,
Full days this new governing body work to set up the laws of libertarian they began under Karachi Alleys office.
You even develop a new language for a libertarian that
incorporated the various native languages of the many people who had settled there. They carefully balanced
Manpower that was needed to maintain their animals that crops against their needs for enable naval reinforcements. Yet too was like
build our navy and they were like hey somebody's gotta feed, the cows, hope of a kind of were figuring out, some pretty advanced kind of balancing systems about what their society can handle. An emerald too then set out together more members of the colony hoping to meet with ships at sea and offered to take volunteers to bolster libertarians numbers. He also went and visited places he knew and sort of told people about it and as part of his canvassing for new citizens, which he first began by
settlement of his former men who had not joined up with libertarian but had started their own camp. He spoke really passionately about Liberty, Leah and its government built around fairness and equality, but also he was clear to say that the settlement was also willing to work with other governments. Saying quote
If you will go to America or Europe and show the advantage which may accrue to the English by fixing a colony here out of the love we bear, our country
and to wipe away the odious appellation of pirates with pleasure. We will submit
two Emmy who shall come with a commission
from a lawful government, but it is ridiculous to think we will become subjects of greater rogues than ourselves. But while he was visiting with his friends and potential recruits to their small paradise, he was surprised twin.
We saw himself found him and told him that everything they had built had been lost me. So I told to you that the native peoples had attacked the settlement,
kill the currency only and many others, and that only he and
five other men had managed to escape aboard the Bijou. Yet this was at a point when two was kind of stranded. There had been a big storm and the Victoire had actually capsized in many, the crew were killed, but they were able to to get the ship and too
that they should head to America and make a fresh start- and there was even discussion that, like hey, we know how to do this now, let's make another settlement, but me Saul was so devastated at having lost all of his work that he just had no heart for another attempt. So me sound, took the victims.
And set out with a plan that he would meet to again on the guinea coast to regroup, but that meeting never happened. Victoire sank during a storm and Miss sown went down with a ship, so it is come up on the show before, but just hurry.
Since the nineteen thirties, the history of the lives of bloody, exploits of the most noted pirates, the sometimes a general history of pirates will see, it was done,
a number of different ways, because on some re, publications that has gotten new titles has been attributed to journalists by a novelist Daniel Differ,
and that attribution came about through the work of John Robert. More who was a defeat biographer and it has been pretty widely accepted. Is truth at this point, yeah there's some other candidates that people name, including Nathaniel Misty, was a sailor in a publisher, but it so frequently associated with Daniel devoted a lot of times.
As the author is listed as in the library or wherever, with like no little asterisk or anything
Yeah. There are definitely verge. That's really even talk about how it came to be that it gets that attribution
so remembering that the various most famous works were novels, like Robinson Crusoe and Mall Flanders, with little
evidence to back up he, but to back up. What's it contained in it. This account in a general history of the robberies and murderers of the most notorious pirates is pretty much believed to be fictional. I mean it's. We ve talked about this book in a bunch of different purposes.
Oh it's all they'll involve people, we know were real and were involved in piracy, but the details, a lot of times are very questionable
and an introduction to the modern printing of this work, maximum.
You know back wrote that the account of the crew and the captain that founded the libertarian as one of the quote most remarkable and neglected works of fiction among the foes work, but there were, as we said, Tracy mentioned,
there were definitely in many cases the real people that these stories pulled in and we down there's not a good way to
verify or not: it's not like people that were living a privateering life for keeping great records, which is probably why some of these fanciful stories glue to fill the void of people that wanted to know about them, but there were a few pirate settlements in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, so the idea of Liberty area is not entirely outside the bounds of possibility and Madagascar is Tracy mentioned at the top.
The show was a popular destination for pirates, looking for at times a bit of freedom and peace, and sometimes it take a break from things. Then author do to attack other ships,
well yeah I mean you can't live by.
This alone know there was a lot of practical action happening
in that area ranting
Bay in Madagascar was founded by pirate John Plantain and one thousand seven hundred and twenty. Although he had more of a kingdom in mind than a democracy and Jill Saint Marie, which is four miles east of the eye,
Madagascar, is also believed to have been inhabited by pirates for almost a century and a much Luther sort of set up. Then masons purported settlement, so
There's a pirate cemetery on that island that continues to be a tourist attraction,
two thousand and one author Kevin Rush be published? A book called hunting pirate Heaven, which was part travelogue and part investigative journalism, and he himself was basically traveling the roots of privateers, seeking out the sights of the various legendary utopias that have been part of pyro
and you didn't find libertalia and no one else has any hard evidence or record of it either. That does live on a popular culture there with his showing up in lots of books and movies and video games, including uncharted four and fallout four. I haven't played uncharted four, but in fallout four, it's kind of a cobbled together raider settlement off the coast of Massachusetts, yeah, it's,
it's not so much of the utopia hug fast, but now it's definitely not have hug fast. If you go to their people showed up at sea, yeah WWW Boroughs wrote about it at one point: it shown up it's one of those lake handy.
Can a touchstone of people Boleyn when they're talking about piracy and privateering, to give it a feel of authenticity, even though that that feel may be based on an income
the fictional, but it's a fascinating idea. I do think it's interesting to examine why someone would want to write if presuming its fiction to write
a story that is so sort of Progressive ITALY,
idea of all men being equal and, like so anti slavery. It's an interesting thing that that would be framed along with the idea of piracy and freedom and from government and we're gonna go.
This ship into attacking us, so that we can then try it out and take other stuff re like I said there are some moral flexibility. Big did the whole thing, but that does become an interesting thing to look out like. Why would that be such an appealing, piece of fiction at a time that we don't often think of his being
really rooted in all men being equal. Its fascinating entered the fun reed. It's a little bit tricky to get through it because the language
clunky to our modern ear. There's some you now fast and loose use of CAP
was ancient, and such things theme that you like way is that of proper. Now, oh, no, it's not he just like the word prize. Okay, so yeah there's stuff like that to contend with, but it is a
Sundry, yeah we're having read chunks of the book for research of various episodes of the pied gas. It does tend to be a fun ray,
if not necessarily has historically accurate one there's part of me there, there is a do. Feel part of me that wants, in my heart for some
piece of evidence to appear to prove that everything in the general history is actually accurate. True because it would be mind blowing. If that were the case.
like our here, is all of my notes, like my big file, my binder for RE newspaper, clue, clippings, etc that I used to research this book get now. I dont care would be great, would then be hilarious.
My listener mail is not about piracy at all. It is about legal matters. It is from our listener Gregg. It is about our Elizabeth, Jennings, Graham
episode, and he writes hide your Ali Tracy. I'm a long time was nervous. I'm writing in. I love the episode about Elizabeth Jennings, Graham as a practising attorney in New York City. Listening to your podcast, as I travelled from court in the Bronx to court in Brooklyn, I felt ass though you are describing my everyday routine, even though the case you are describing was a hundred fifty years ago. An important point of clarification. I know this makes absolutely no sense.
But the Supreme Court in the New York State, unified court system is actually the lowest level of general jurisdiction. I e a trial court. The highest court in New York
more confusingly is called the court of appeals. I can't tell you how confused
that was in law school to have to reconcile that New York is the only state where court labels make no sense from the highest Louis. So when the state Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn
The jury instructions you describe while they were surely notable, especially for that time it was not actually the highest court in a state making such a pronouncement. The Supreme Court judge, in this case, being the functional equivalent of a trial judge in any other
state. The pedantic lawyer in me literally, had to stop the pie Gaston right this email before I could continue lest the brain edge. It wrought distract me for the rest of us. Please give up with you all you do. I travel between courts on public transportation every day, sometimes as much as five hours, and your podcast are a staple of ample train time. Thank you
What great? I would never have known that no at this now I will be pedantic and say that we have also gotten notes about the court systems layers from other states that are not New York. That also did not make sense, but they didn't make sense in a different way than this one. I know it becomes really apparent how much there was never a discussion about uniformity, yachts it up, and I don't, I think if they tried to make a uniform labeling system now it would create utter chaos. Yeah. Thank you for that point of clarification, and it's a good thing to have that fixed, provide. I want to miss represent. Thank you. So much Gregg, if you would like to raise,
He could do so in history, Prague as to how to fork start com. You can find us across the spectrum of social media as missed in history. We are also available at missed in history dot com, where every episode of the show from its very beginnings before Tracy and I were
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