The Pirates' Who's Who [NOOK Book]

Overview

PREFACE


Let it be made clear at the very outset of this ...
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The Pirates' Who's Who

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Overview

PREFACE


Let it be made clear at the very outset of this Preface that the pages
which follow do not pretend to be a history of piracy, but are simply an
attempt to gather together, from various sources, particulars of those
redoubtable pirates and buccaneers whose names have been handed down to us
in a desultory way.

I do not deal here with the children of fancy; I believe that every man,
or woman too--since certain of the gentler sex cut no small figure at the
game--mentioned in this volume actually existed.

A time has come when every form of learning, however preposterous it may
seem, is made as unlaborious as possible for the would-be student.
Knowledge, which is after all but a string of facts, is being arranged,
sorted, distilled, and set down in compact form, ready for rapid
assimilation. There is little fear that the student who may wish in the
future to become master of any subject will have to delve into the
original sources in his search after facts and dates.

Surely pirates, taking them in their broadest sense, are as much entitled
to a biographical dictionary of their own as are clergymen, race-horses,
or artists in ferro-concrete, who all, I am assured, have their own "Who's
Who"? Have not the medical men their Directory, the lawyers their List,
the peers their Peerage? There are books which record the names and the
particulars of musicians, schoolmasters, stockbrokers, saints and
bookmakers, and I dare say there is an average adjuster's almanac. A peer,
a horse, dog, cat, and even a white mouse, if of blood sufficiently blue,
has his pedigree recorded somewhere. Above all, there is that astounding
and entertaining volume, "Who's Who," found in every club smoking-room,
and which grows more bulky year by year, stuffed with information about
the careers, the hobbies, and the marriages of all the most distinguished
persons in every profession, including very full details about the lives
and doings of all our journalists. But on the club table where these books
of ready reference stand with "Whitaker," "ABC," and "Ruff's Guide to the
Turf," there is just one gap that the compiler of this work has for a long
while felt sorely needed filling. There has been until now no work that
gives immediate and trustworthy information about the lives, and--so sadly
important in their cases--the deaths of our pirates and buccaneers.

In delving in the volumes of the "Dictionary of National Biography," it
has been a sad disappointment to the writer to find so little space
devoted to the careers of these picturesque if, I must admit, often
unseemly persons. There are, of course, to be found a few pirates with
household names such as Kidd, Teach, and Avery. A few, too, of the
buccaneers, headed by the great Sir Henry Morgan, come in for their share.
But I compare with indignation the meagre show of pirates in that
monumental work with the rich profusion of divines! Even during the years
when piracy was at its height--say from 1680 until 1730--the pirates are
utterly swamped by the theologians. Can it be that these two professions
flourished most vigorously side by side, and that when one began to
languish, the other also began to fade?

Even so there can be no excuse for the past and present neglect of these
sea-adventurers. But a change is beginning to show itself. Increasing
evidence is to be found that the more intelligent portions of the
population of this country, and even more so the enlightened of the great
United States of America, are beginning to show a proper interest in the
lives of the pirates and buccaneers. That this should be so amongst the
Americans is quite natural, when it is remembered what a close intimacy
existed between their Puritan forefathers of New England and the pirates,
both by blood relation and by trade, since the pirates had no more
obliging and ready customers for their spoils of gold dust, stolen slaves,
or church ornaments, than the early settlers of New York, Massachusetts,
and Carolina.

In beginning to compile such a list as is to be found in this volume, a
difficulty is met at once. My original intention was that only pirates and
buccaneers should be included. To admit privateers, corsairs, and other
sea-rovers would have meant the addition of a vast number of names, and
would have made the work unwieldy, and the very object of this volume as a
book of ready reference would not have been achieved.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940016096575
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 12/17/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 240 KB

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