Notable Historical Trials II – Captain Kidd

This was a short chapter in the Folio Society’s book on Historical Trials.  It was the trial for Piracy of Captain William Kidd. In the late 1600s he was given permission by the English government to sail as a privateer to take ships allied to France, which they were at war with, and to hunt pirates. He was to avoid taking allied ships and neutrals.

Apparently these were too tempting, and he went Pirate himself, taking ships illegally and selling the proceeds himself.  Eventually word got out and he was arrested when he showed up at Boston harbor.

This trial seems open and shut enough, although there are the usual cries whenever someone who became famous is tried for a crime.  He was convicted and hung.  Rumors still fly about where the ‘missing’ part of his loot might be buried.  A more prosaic explanation might be that running a pirate ship can be expensive.


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