Portrait of a Character – Benjamin Warren
For the Interphases Star Trek: Enterprise Concord story, I needed a wise servant, a former slave. This would be someone for Charlotte to bounce her ideas off. He was also a practical requirement, as she could not possibly run the farm herself. Hence Benjamin was born.
Benjamin is portrayed by Morgan Freeman. He brings, to me, the right mixture of seriousness, humor and intelligence. Benjamin is a former slave but he is no fool.
Beyond the fact that I enjoy this actor (in particular, his speaking voice), I also love the gravitas he seems to bring to every role.
For Charlotte Hayes, he is her rock and her strength during the Revolutionary War, as her husband, Jacob, has gone off to fight. Without Benjamin – who is far closer to a cherished friend than a servant – the farm would fall apart in Jacob’s absence. She has no children to help her, so she is very reliant on Benjamin and his family.
Benjamin is a former slave but it’s unclear just how or why he was freed. The strong implication is that, when Jacob’s parents and sister died of scarlet fever, he may have been freed. Or perhaps he was freed when Charlotte and Jacob wed. Or the Hayes family weren’t slave owners at all, and he had been freed before his association with them. It’s unclear and it is not, as of the writing of this blog post, likely that the confusion will ever be fully cleared up.
Benjamin is married to another servant, Dorcas. Dorcas is a name that is appropriate to the time period. A Dorcas Dunlap is buried in Chester, New Hampshire and her husband, Lieutenant James Dunlap, died in 1803.
This is in keeping with the time period. There is no intention that Dorcas Warren be also Dorcas Dunlap (with, perhaps, a second husband). Rather, this is to illustrate the commonality of this old-style name.
Benjamin and Dorcas initially got together as they both survived the scarlet fever which took all of the Hayes family except for Jacob, who was away at Harvard at the time. Charlotte was also spared then. Benjamin and Dorcas have a grown son at the time of the events depicted in Concord, named Jim. Since Charlotte does not ask about any other children when they are taking tea, it’s clear that Jim is an only child, and likely is not yet married.
“But you heard, Mister Reed. What I don’t get, is that even before I mentioned them to you, they were, I know they are – they are very real. And not just today, but for years! Sir, my wife and me, we’ve been together for over two decades. That was the case even before you showed up.”
Benjamin’s intelligence and patience help Charlotte to survive. Jacob knows that he can go to war with one less thing to worry about with Benjamin around.