Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVIII / The Story of Blackbeard >> Page 449

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Page 449

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription and who ranks not less venerably from worth than age. He
heard it from those who claimed to have known personally some
of the parties to the history, and who fully believed the truth
of the story which they told. The period of the narrative was,
perhaps, a quarter of a century before the Revolution.
You are all aware that from 1670 to 1750, using round num-
bers, the buccaneers, leagued of all nations, no longer confining
themselves to the Spanish galleons, which were always held to
be fair prey to the British cruisers, made the commerce of Britain
herself finally their prey, and literally haunted with daily ter-
rors the coasts of Virginia and the two Carolinas, as well as
the West Indies, making spoil of their rich and but little pro-
tected productions. Their crews, composed of the scum of all
nations British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spaniards
discriminated in behalf of none ; and so loose were British and
American morals at that period� (have they very much improved
since ?) that the people of the provinces themselves�their
very governors were greatly inclined to countenance the flibus-
tiers (French corruption of freebooters) in all those cases of
piracy where they themselves were not the immediate sufferers.
They drove a profitable trade with the marauders, who were
sometimes to be seen walking the streets of the Atlantic cities
with the most perfect impunity. Captain Kidd, for a long time,
was the great master-spirit of these wretches. His successor in
audacity, insolence, and crime, was the infamous Blackbeard,
the nom du guerre by which he preferred that the world should
read his character. His proper name, Edward Teach, was, in
itself, innocent enough.
Blackbeard particularly affected the coasts of Carolina.
The waters over which we now go were the favorite fields of
his performance. Harbored among these islands Bull's, De-
wee's, Caper's, Sullivan, Seewee, and others he lay in close
watch for the white sails of commerce. He explored all these
bays and harbors, and knew their currents and bearings well,
from the cape of Hatteras to that of Florida reef. He had
command of a complete squadron, including vessels of nearly
all sizes. His flag was hoisted upon a forty-gun ship, the crew
of which consisted of more than a hundred men. His captains
were Vane, Bonnet, Warley, and others, inferior to himself only