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Pirates and Piracy
written by "Heydt, Herman A."
...rent dissatisfaction with the captain or with his commands have frequently caused those secret plottings below decks, resulting in open revolt or mutiny:—[13]pirate against pirate, brute force matched against brute force for power and supremacy. The severest punishment to a member of the crew for thieving from a fellow-pirate was marooning—slitting the ears and nose and depositing the offender upon some desolate island or lonely shore with but few provisions and limited ammunition. Life was little prized, for death had no terrors, and life beyond this world entered not into their calculations. Their fearlessness and courage was splendidly exampled when Captain Teach, alias Black Beard, appeared off Charleston in the year 1717 and sent word to the Governor of the colony to send out to him at once a certain number of medicine chests, in failure of which the port would be blockaded by his single vessel, and all persons on board in-going and out-going ships killed and their heads sent to the Governor as proof of the execution of the threat. He also threatened to set all ships on fire. It illustrates clearly in what [44]dread these sea marauders were held in those times, when we learn that the Governor immediately complied with the demands and the embargo was raised. It is recorded that in moments of defeat pirates voluntarily have set fire to their powder magazines and thus were blown to destruction rather than plead for mercy. During long cruises, when no ships upon the horizon line varied the monotony of the daily routine, pastimes were invented, each one out-rivalling the other in sheer wickedness. Captain Teach considered it rare sport to lock his men in the ship’s hold and then set sulphur afire to ascertain how long they could withstand asphyxiation. Yet his greatest “bravery” was displayed (and herein he developed commendable Spartan fortitude) when he married fourteen times with a fearlessness highly worthy of a...

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