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Captain Kidd's Ship Found Off Dominican Republic - HISTORY

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Author Topic: Captain Kidd's Ship Found Off Dominican Republic - HISTORY  (Read 2055 times)
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« on: December 13, 2007, 01:57:20 pm »

Early life

According to most scholars, Kidd was born into a reputable family in Greenock, Scotland in 1645. However, recent genealogical research suggests that Kidd was born in Dundee, despite his 'death-row' claim to be from Greenock.[citation needed] After the death of his father when he was five, he moved to the colony of New York. There he befriended many prominent colonial citizens, including three governors.

During the War of the Grand Alliance, on orders from the province of New York, Massachusetts, he captured an enemy privateer on the New England coast. Shortly thereafter, Kidd was awarded £150 for successful privateering in the Caribbean. One year later, "Captain" Culliford, a notorious pirate, stole Kidd's ship while he was ashore at Antigua in the West Indies. In 1695, William III of England replaced the corrupt governor Benjamin Fletcher, known for accepting bribes of one hundred dollars to allow illegal trading of pirate loot, with Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont.

In New York City, Kidd was active in the building of Trinity Church, New York. The first building to house Trinity's worshippers was a modest rectangular structure with a gambrel roof and small porch. According to historical records, Captain Kidd lent his runner and tackle for hoisting the stones.

Preparing his expedition

On December 11 of 1695, Coote, who was now governing New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, asked the "trusty and well beloved Captain Kidd" (Hamilton, 1961) to attack Thomas Tew, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, William Maze, and all others who associated themselves with pirates, along with any enemy French ships. This preceded the voyage which established his reputation as a pirate, and cemented his image in history and folklore.

Four-fifths of the cost for the venture was paid for by noble lords, who were amongst the most powerful men in England; the Earl of Orford, The Baron of Romney, the Duke of Shrewsbury and Sir John Somers. Kidd was presented with a letter of marque signed personally by King William III of England. This letter reserved 10% of the loot for the Crown, and Henry Gilbert's The Book of Pirates suggests that the King may have fronted some of the money for the voyage himself. Kidd and an acquaintance, Colonel Robert Livingston, who orchestrated the whole plan, paid for the rest. Kidd had to sell his ship Antigua to raise funds.

The new ship, the Adventure Galley, was well suited to the task of catching pirates; weighing over 284 tons, it was equipped with 34 cannons, oars, and 150 men. The oars were a key advantage as they would enable the Adventure Galley to maneuver in a battle when the winds had calmed and other ships were dead in the water. Kidd took pride in personally selecting the crew, choosing only those he deemed to be the best and most loyal officers.

As the Adventure Galley slid down the Thames, Kidd unaccountably failed to salute a Navy yacht at Greenwich as custom dictated. The Navy yacht then fired a shot to make him show respect, and Kiddís crew... responded with an astounding display of impudence - but turning and slapping their backsides in [disdain]. (Botting 106)

Because of his crew's refusal to salute, the Adventure Galley was stopped by the HMS Duchess, whose captain was offended by Kidd's failure to fire the customary salute to his vessel, and retaliated by pressing much of Kidd's crew into naval service, despite rampant protests. Thus short-handed, Kidd sailed for New York City, capturing a French vessel en route (which was legal under the terms of his commission). To make up for the lack of officers, Kidd picked up replacement crew in New York, the vast majority of whom were known and hardened criminals, some undoubtedly former pirates.

Among Kidd's officers was his quartermaster, Hendrick van der Heul. Among pirates of that era, the quartermaster was second in command to the captain; however it is not clear if van der Heul exercised this kind of responsibility because Kidd was nominally a privateer. Van der Heul is also noteworthy because he may have been African or African-American; a contemporary source describes him as a "small black Man." However, the meaning of this is not certain, as in late seventeenth-century usage the phrase "black Man" could mean either black-skinned or black-haired. If van der Heul was indeed of African ancestry, that would make him the highest ranking black pirate so far identified. Van der Heul went on to become a master's mate on a merchant vessel, and was never convicted of piracy.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2007, 07:35:41 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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