History for the Rest of Us

Captain William Kidd

Captain William Kidd

Jul 22, 2013

KIDD, Captain William, sometimes Robert Kidd or Kid. In the whole history of piracy there is no name that has so taken the world’s fancy than has that of William Kidd. And yet, if he be judged by his actions as a pirate, he must be placed among the second- or even third-rate masters of that craft. He took but two or three ships, and these have been, after two hundred years, proved to be lawful prizes taken in his legal capacity as a privateer. Kidd was born at Greenock in Scotland about the year 1655, and was the son of the Rev. John Kidd. Of his early life little record is left, but we know that in August, 1689, he arrived at St. Nevis in the West Indies, in command of a privateer of sixteen guns. In 1691, while Kidd was on shore, his crew ran away with his ship, which was not surprising, as most of his crew were old pirates. But that Kidd was an efficient seaman and a capable captain is shown by the number of times he was given the command of different privateer vessels, both by the Government of New York and by privateer owners. In 1695 Kidd was in London, and on October 10th signed the articles which were to prove so fatal for him. In January, 1696, King William III. issued to his “beloved friend William Kidd” a commission to apprehend certain pirates, particularly Thomas Tew, of Rhode Island, Thomas Wake, and William Maze, of New York, John Ireland, and “all other Pirates, Free-booters, and Sea Rovers of what Nature soever.” This privateer enterprise was financed chiefly by Lord Bellomont, but the other adventurers (on shore and in safety) were the Lord Chancellor; the Earl of Orford, the First Lord of the Admiralty; the Earl of Romney and the Duke of Shrewsbury, Secretaries of State; Robert Livingston, Esq., of New York; and lastly, Captain Kidd himself. The ship the Adventure galley was bought and fitted up, and Kidd sailed away in her to suppress piracy, particularly on the coast of America. Nothing was heard of him till August, 1698, when ugly rumours began to get about...

Blackbeard – Captain Edward Teach

Blackbeard – Captain Edward Teach

Jul 22, 2013

TEACH, Captain Edward, or Thatch, or Thach, alias Drummond, alias Blackbeard. Arch-pirate. A Bristol man who settled in Jamaica, sailing in privateers, but not in the capacity of an officer. In 1716, Teach took to piracy, being put in command of a sloop by the pirate Benjamin Hornigold. In 1717, Hornigold and Teach sailed together from Providence towards the American coast, taking a billop from Havana and several other prizes. After careening their vessels on the coast of Virginia, the pirates took a fine French Guineaman bound to Martinico; this ship they armed with forty guns, named her the Queen Ann’s Revenge, and Blackbeard went aboard as captain. Teach now had a ship that allowed him to go for larger prizes, and he began by taking a big ship called the Great Allen, which he plundered and then set fire to. A few days later, Teach was attacked by H.M.S. Scarborough, of thirty guns, but after a sharp engagement lasting some hours, the pirate was able to drive off the King’s ship. The next ship he met with was the sloop of that amateur pirate and landsman, Major Stede Bonnet. Teach and Bonnet became friends and sailed together for a few days, when Teach, finding that Bonnet was quite ignorant of maritime matters, ordered the Major, in the most high-handed way, to come aboard his ship, while he put another officer in command of Bonnet’s vessel. Teach now took ship after ship, one of which, with the curious name of the Protestant Cæsar, the pirates burnt out of spite, not because of her name, but because she belonged to Boston, where there had lately been a hanging of pirates. Blackbeard now sailed north along the American coast, arriving off Charleston, South Carolina. Here he lay off the bar for several days, seizing every vessel that attempted to enter or leave the port, “striking great Terror to the whole Province of Carolina,” the more so since the colony was scarcely recovered from a recent visit by another pirate, Vane. Being in want of medicines, Teach sent his lieutenant, Richards, on shore with a letter to the Governor demanding that he should instantly send off a...

Bonnie and Clyde – The Trail’s End

Bonnie and Clyde – The Trail’s End

May 23, 2012

The following is an autobiographical poem written by Bonnie Parker. Bonnie and her partner in crime Clyde Barrow were two of the most notorious criminals in United States history. The Trail’s End – by Bonnie Parker You’ve read the story of Jesse James of how he lived and died. If you’re still in need; of something to read, here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde. Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang I’m sure you all have read. how they rob and steal; and those who squeal, are usually found dying or dead. There’s lots of untruths to these write-ups; they’re not as ruthless as that. their nature is raw; they hate all the law, the stool pigeons, spotters and rats. They call them cold-blooded killers they say they are heartless and mean. But I say this with pride that I once knew Clyde, when he was honest and upright and clean. But the law fooled around; kept taking him down, and locking him up in a cell. Till he said to me; “I’ll never be free, so I’ll meet a few of them in hell” The road was so dimly lighted there were no highway signs to guide. But they made up their minds; if all roads were blind, they wouldn’t give up till they died. The road gets dimmer and dimmer sometimes you can hardly see. But it’s fight man to man and do all you can, for they know they can never be free. From heart-break some people have suffered from weariness some people have died. But take it all in all; our troubles are small, till we get like Bonnie and Clyde. If a policeman is killed in Dallas and they have no clue or guide. If they can’t find a fiend, they just wipe their slate clean and hang it on Bonnie and Clyde. There’s two crimes committed in America not accredited to the Barrow mob. They had no hand; in the kidnap demand, nor the Kansas City Depot job. A newsboy once said to his buddy; “I wish old Clyde would get jumped. In these awfull hard times; we’d make a few dimes, if five or six...