Captain William Kidd

Captain William Kidd

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.”...