Most of this website consists of a collection of all the documents that the creators could find pertaining to the murder of William Robinson and to colonial Salt Spring Island society. With a few exceptions, these documents were created by people living in the nineteenth century. This section is different. It contains essays written recently, essays that seek to interpret the historical documents that are on this site, or which pertain to it. These essays, written by the site originators, involve the same processes of research and interpretation used by anyone writing history -- by anyone using the website to answer the question "Who Killed William Robinson?"
In the pages that follow, you will find as complete a collection of historical documents that relate to the death of William Robinson and the other two Blacks killed in the same period as the two originators, their research assistants, and their friends and colleagues have been able to find.
Cowdrick added that he was not certain the deal had taken place: "One point against this story is the fact that the Wagner bill was not included in the list of 'must' legislation which Roosevelt gave to Senator Robinson just before the President left for his Florida vacation this week" (Senate 1939, p. 17017). But an economist close to Hillman, George Soule (1935), was confident that a bargain was in the making. He reported to liberals and leftists in on April 3 that informal talks between Hillman and Roosevelt were going on about industrial unions to work with the government. For all the speculation about Roosevelt's backroom dealings, there is no certain evidence as to what he had promised and not promised to key labor leaders. The most likely inference is that he was playing for time to see what the Supreme Court would rule on the constitutionality of the NRA. On May 14, he refused Wagner's request to make the act "must" legislation, but the Senate nonetheless passed the bill two days later by a strong 63-12 vote, just as Cowdrick feared. The Senate's approval, which included virtually all of the Southern Democrats, made the final outcome a foregone conclusion because the Democrats also had an overwhelming majority in the House.
46 Henry III, 1 January 1261/2, Benedict Gernet was assigned as a Justice of the court. - from page 236 "A Calendar of the Lancashire Assize Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, London: In Two..." by John William Robinson Parker.
The two books that will be involved in the discussion will be Clive Cussler's Sahara and Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. In both cases the leading characters show signs of breaking down and quitting because of physical, but also their mental stress. Robinson Crusoe, and Sahara relate in many ways, as do the main characters, and will be two good books to compare the survival of both Dirk Pitt and Robinson Crusoe....
William Robinson was a real person, a Black American who was murdered on Salt Spring Island in the British Colony of British Columbia in 1868. He had arrived in the colony a decade before as part of a contingent of Black Americans fleeing persecution and slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War.
The documents do not just tell about their deaths. "Who Killed William Robinson?" is just the first of the questions you may ask of this website. "How did he live?" is another. In the documents that follow there is a rich social history of the Blacks, Aboriginal people, Kanakas (Hawaiians), and Whites of many national backgrounds, from Azorian Portugese to the British colonial elite, who settled Salt Spring Island. Their stories tell us much about the settlement of British Columbia, Canada and to a degree, the United States. They tell about settlement, the importance of land, the dispossession of Aboriginal people, about justice, racism, family life, religion -- the full gamut of life in the colony.
This website then is not just about William Robinson or about British Columbia. It is also about historical understanding. It allows you to look at the same documents that professional researchers look at to build their accounts, and to interpret the raw material of the past, so you can ask the larger questions like, how do we know what happened in the past?
53 Henry III, 23 July 1269. Justice: Walter de Helyun. Robert Banastre v. Benedict Gernet. . Diversion of water at Fischewik. - from page 246 "A Calendar of the Lancashire Assize Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, London: In Two..." by John William Robinson Parker.
The "tit for tat": 54 Henry III, 5 November 1269. Justice: Robert Fulton. Benedict Gernet v. Robert Banastre and others. . A pool demolished at Fissewik. - from page 247 "A Calendar of the Lancashire Assize Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, London: In Two..." by John William Robinson Parker.
"In 1284 Roger Travers made complaint that Benedict Gernet, Alan de Halsall, and others had disseised him of the manor of Whiston, except one messuage, and it was decreed that he should recover." - from the Assize Rolls, "British History Online."
12 Edward I. "--Roger Trauers [sic] Benedict Gernet, John Gernet, Henry de la Ruddegate, Adam de Fennay, John le Prechur, William le Low, Ralph del Hospital, Alan de Halsale, Adam de Hyton, John son of Emma, Roger Trebuche, Richard de Whystan, Roger son of Henry de Ruddegate, Henry his brother, Henry Smith and Richard de Wodeheued the manor of Whystan, except one water mill."Note that Vivian Gernet, above, had given Robert Travers 4 carucates of land in Whiston in about 1190. That is, he had enfeoffed him so that the Gernet's were still his overlord.
Footnote. "Benedict says that he claims as lord: Alan, for the other defendants, says that the manor belonged to one Richard father of Henry de la Ruddegate who died seised . . . Judgement for plaintiff against all the defendants except Benedict Gernet, Richard de Whystan and Richard de Wodehoued--the others to gaol. Damages 14s. 10d., nothing to the Clerks." - from page 179 "A Calendar of the Lancashire Assize Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, London: In Two..." by John William Robinson Parker
13 Edward I . "--Simon de Fissewyk Benedict Gernet and others a tenement in Fissewyk."
Footnote. "Plaintiff did not prosecute; sureties, Robert Noel and Richard Wachet of Fyschewyk." - from page 2039 "A Calendar of the Lancashire Assize Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office, London: In Two..." by John William Robinson Parker