Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Successful Pyrate

The Successful Pyrate is a play by Charles Johnson. It was first performed 1712 and published 1713, and dealt with the life of the pirate Henry Avery (Every).

Charles Johnson (1679 – 11 March 1748) was an English playwright and a tavern keeper. He claimed that he had been trained in law, but there is no evidence of this. At the same time, it is possible that he actually was a lawyer, as his first two published works, (Marlborough; on the Late Glorious Victory Near Hochstet in Germany and The Queen; a Pindaric Ode) list him as living in Gray's Inn. This was one of the four “Inns of Court” and in order to practice law in England or Wales a person must belong to one of these inns.   He married a Mary Bradbury in Gray's Inn chapel in 1709, the year of his first play, Love and Liberty.

Drury Lane Theater, still in use today

Around the year 1710, Johnson became friends with Robert Wilks, the actor-manager of Drury Lane Theatre. Wilks was able to see that Johnson's plays received consideration. In 1711, The Wife's Relief, or, The Husband's Cure was a great success.

In 1712, The Successful Pyrate was produced, and complaints were made to Charles Killigrew, Master of the Revels that the play glamorized the pirate Henry Every. However, the play's controversy helped its profitability, and it was a theatrical success.

Artist's conception of Henry Avery

The Successful Pyrate is a glamorized adaptation of two episodes contained in a pamphlet about the career of pirate Henry Avery: his capture of the Mogul ship Gang-i-sawai, allegedly carrying the Mogul's granddaughter, and a plot against Avery by his lieutenant De Sale and other pirates.

In the play, Avery goes under the name Arviragus, and has made himself a King in Madagascar, the legendary east-African pirate island. He captures the Indian princess Zaida and tries to force her to marry him, but she is in love with a young man named Aranes. The two have an offstage fight and Aranes is reportedly killed; meanwhile, De Sale, who has confided to the audience that he is plotting to overthrow Arviragus and become King, ingratiates himself with Zaida.

De Sale's fellow plotters are blundering fools and their plans are easily thwarted. A comic trial scene follows. Then it is revealed that Aranes is Arviragus' long lost son, and that he is still alive, his friend Alvarez having died in his place. The plotters are executed and Aranes and Zaida marry.

Artist's conception of Avery meeting the Mogul's granddaughter

The play is reportedly more comedy than anything else. The pirates are mostly fools, especially Sir Gaudy Tulip, an aged and cowardly London beau. The Gang-i-sawai is, for comic effect, carrying two European ladies, Tulip's ex-mistress and another pirate's ex-wife, who exchange comedic comments with the men. The drunken conspirators and outrageously partial court are played entirely for laughs.

Charles Johnson’s name may very well have inspired the pseudonym of another great pirate author. A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates was written, supposedly by Captain Charles Johnson.

The General Histotry

Who was this person? Arne Bialuschewski of the University of Kiel in Germany has recently suggested Nathaniel Mist, a former sailor, journalist, and publisher of the Weekly Journal, as a more likely candidate. Charles Rivington (publisher of the History), had printed books for Mist, who lived near his office. The General History was registered at Her Majesty's Stationery Office in Mist's name. As a former seaman who had sailed the West Indies, Mist, of all London's writer-publishers, was uniquely qualified to have penned the History.

So why use Johnson’s name? Some scholars think that, to someone who knew pirates and respected them, Mist was affronted by Johnson’s treatment of the much-respected Avery.  Is this true? We may never know, but it seems plausible.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Were Pirates Happy?

“A short life and a merry one,” was the call of many pirates. If you’ve read much of my writing, you know that I believe that many pirates joined the ranks of the Gentlemen of Fortune because they were sick of working under horrible conditions for little pay. Pirates simply said, “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore.” Then they went off to have fun.

I’m coming to this train of thought after reading “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari. The book tells about the biological history of the human race and its cultural development. One of the facts recounted in the book is that happiness is ultimately brought about because of chemicals released in the brain.

The book asks some intriguing questions. For instance, is it possible for a medieval peasant who has just put a new roof on his mud hut to be just a happy as a modern-day lawyer who has just paid off a penthouse apartment?

The book says “yes” and I agree, while reserving that a medieval peasant had a lot less stress on his mind to distract him from his happiness. A triumph is a triumph, and if you are doing better than your friends, you will probably feel pretty smug about that.

So, how does this relate to pirates?

Many books portray the lives of pirates as short, miserable and brutish. They are largely right. Sailors of the age did not live long. They ate poor food, were often sick with fevers, and suffered from liver trouble from the liquor they drank, and vitamin deficiencies from a limited diet. Pirates also lived a violent life, with frequent ship battles and occasional on-shore brawls.

 How could people who lived like this be happy?

Because they were relatively much better than other men from similar backgrounds. If pirates did not live long, they lived as long as sailors could expect. Sailors died from sickness, storms and injury. Pirates faced the same risks. But where common sailors also complained that their ships put into ports where sickness was common, or were poorly maintained, pirates were free to leave a rotting or damaged ship behind and did not put into any port that the crew did not agree to.

Pirates may have often eaten the poorly preserved food of their day. But they lived in a society where everyone ate the same food, ship’s officers to the lowest member of the crew. This put everyone on equal footing. If pirates were considered the scum of the earth by the good citizens of the world, they were all scum together, making their relative position higher than their law-abiding brothers.
In addition, pirate food was probably objectively better than the food of regular sailors. When the people who procure the food also have to eat it, you tend to have better food. Thought the diet of salt beef, salt pork, ship’s biscuit and dried peas would be revolting to modern diners, it was better than what the other guy was eating.

Pirates also had more leisure time than their counterparts. In a society that did not value leisure time (see: The Protestant Work Ethic) pirates took extravagant “vacations” on a regular basis, living a life of ease after a few weeks spent plundering.

In short, pirates became pirates in order to attain the things that they believed led to a happy life. And, according to reports, they succeeded. .

The piratical way of life also solved a problem that modern people face when searching for happiness. This is the tendency of human nature to “smooth out” moods. According to this theory, unless strongly acted upon, we tend to return to a certain level of happiness which is our own “normal.”

So, putting a new roof on the old mud hut or paying off the penthouse brings a rush of joy. But in a few days it begins to lesson, and soon we are no more happy than we were.

Change is the answer to maintaining an elevated level of happiness. The medieval peasant had to wait between shots of happiness, but the modern lawyer who pays off a mortgage can continue searching for the “hit” of happiness. He can take a mistress, win a promotion, buy a better car, go on a vacation (or a better vacation.) get a better mistress, party with expensive hookers.

He doesn’t have to do these things, but the pleasures are available and tempting. Of course, most people would say that this is not the way to true contentment, but it is certainly an effective method of feeding an addiction.

Pirates could feed any addiction they had for the happiness jolt by frightening, assaulting and beating up their “betters,” the same people who had formerly looked down on them. They had nearly endless quantities of liquor, which was what they had dreamed of, and enough different kinds to provide variety.    The possibility existed of sailing off to Madagascar, exploring the pirate-friendly ports of New York and Boston, or plundering Spanish cities in Central and South America.

Most of all, pirates had the chance to dream. Poor folk of the time had little or no chance to raise themselves in society. But a pirate could dream his way to the very top, imagining himself even as a Member of Parliament.

“In an honest service there is thin commons, low wages, and hard labor; in this, plenty and satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power; and who would not balance creditor on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sour look or two at choking. No, a merry life and a short one, shall be my motto.” Bartholomew Roberts, pirate captain.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Songs Pirates Sang

Over and over I come back to the music that pirates in the Golden Age would have heard and sung. So much music has come and gone since 1715 that it’s hard for us to get a handle on what music was like back then.

We tend to concentrate on sea shanties, but most of the shanties we know are products of the 18th century. I believe that the influx of sailors of African origin into European shipping changed sea-songs permanently. Shanties, I think, were influenced strongly by the African tradition of call-and response song structure. (I also believe that this African structure strongly influenced the creation of the military “jody” or call-and-response marching cadence. But that’s a discussion for another time.”)

Music was everywhere in the early 1700’s. People did not wait until they were “professional quality” before singing or playing and instrument in public. Anyone who Often could scrape a song out on a fiddle or toot a horn would do so. People sang while they worked. People danced when they were happy.

Often songs educated their listeners. In the absence of history classes, the ballads about Robin Hood provided a glimpse of English history. We know they inspired Sam Bellamy and his crews.

So here are a few 17th century songs. (I don’t note 18th century songs, since so many of them date from long after the Age of Pirates.)

My favorite of the old songs remains “The Fair Maid of Amsterdam” also called “A-Rovin’.” This is a Really Old Song. The earlies records of it come from 1608, and it was not a new song then. This means that it was a song sung not only by Blackbeard, but by Avery, and even by Sir Frances Drake, king of the Elizabethan Sea Dogs. And yet we can listen to it easily, with no more than the click of a button.

The Fair Maid of Amsterdam

Next, I’m going to share a slightly more recent song. Many English ballads were collected by Francis James Child during the second half of the 19th century. Their lyrics and Child's studies of them were published as the 2,500-page book called The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. The tunes of most of the ballads were collected and published by Bertrand Harris Bronson in and around the 1960s.

Scholarly work like this has enabled us to enjoy these old songs. I am sharing a popular Robin Hood ballad from about 1640. If you enjoy it, other songs from the Child Ballads are available on YouTube.

Robin Hood Meets Little John

And our last song is younger yet. “Over the Hills and Far Away” goes back far enough that we aren’t sure of its origins, but this version was produced for a play in 1706, right in the middle of our time period. I also like the sentiment, one of running away from cares and seeking adventure. (OK, maybe I don’t believe in dumping spouses and children. But  

Our 'prentice Tom may now refuse
To wipe his scoundrel master's shoes

Sounds like the road to piracy, and all in a good cause.

Over the Hills and Far Away

There you go. A bit of research will lead you to yet more songs and ballads... The search gets easier every day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Port Washington Family Pirate Daze

I’ve been going to the Port Washington Pirate Festival since its inception. It was my first ever Pirate event, and has done a lot to shape my ideas of what pirate events look like.  It has also shaped my performing career as a pirate storyteller. When the fest went on hiatus for several years, I was dejected. But now that it’s back, I continue to build my performance credentials.

This year in addition to being booked as an on-stage performer, I brought my tent for True Pyarte Tales, ready to story-tell all day, in between my scheduled performances. As usual, I had copies of my books to sell. However, setting up on Friday during 18mph wind gusts was quite the challenge!

I have an Easy-Up style tent, which I have modified by creating a linen canvas top and muslin sidewalls. (Yes, I know, an Easy-Up is hardly 18th century, but I’m doing the best I can.)  Setting this baby up in my backyard takes all of 15 minutes, even with the additional sidewalls, which attach with ties, and the linen top, which has to be layered on top of the nylon cover the tent came with. . But with high winds off Lake Michigan, this process suddenly turned into a 2-hour ordeal.  

Setup begins by carrying the collapsed tent to its proper location, setting it on its feet, pulling on the corners until it expands to full diameter, then locking the corners in place and raising the legs to their full height. It took nearly an hour to confirm our location in Rotary Park, a spit of land jutting into harbor, and winds were steadily rising.

My friend Jeff and I had dressed for the weather –chilly- but the rising winds were grabbing at our equipment, blowing hats and table covers all over. Before anything else happened, the tent had to go up. Our problem was that the top of an Easy-Up looks a lot like a parachute. Today it was acting like one.

As soon as one of us let go of a tent-side, it wanted to lift up into the air. Positioning the tent was crucial. Other educational presenters would be nearby and needed their space.  When the tent was finally in position, I let go and ran to our wagon to fetch the stakes and hammer.

A huge gust of wind roared by and suddenly the entire tent was in the air, headed toward the harbor. Only my first-mate Jeff, frantically holding on to one leg and a corner of the top, preventing it from leaving us all together! Good thing Jeff had a big lunch. If not, he might have been carried away like Dorothy, to the Land of Oz.

When the gust passed, I ran in with the equipment and showed him how to drive in the stakes. (Jeff’s a great guy, but definitely a city boy.) Four twelve-inch iron tent stakes eventually attached the structure to the ground, but with every gust, the aluminum tent poles bent until lit looked like they would snap. Fortunately, I was prepared.  We added 3 additional tie down ropes, with stakes, one in the middle of each side (except the front.)  Each side panel needed to be attached individually, a nightmare process, as knots untied themselves and the large pieces of fabric tried over and over to escape.

When we had finished, things still looked dicey. The sides billowed like sails in a storm. The linen top really wanted to head out on its own. Standing inside the tent felt almost as stressful as running around out in the gusts. We needed more rope to control all the whipping fabric.

We had an additional coil, but it had been intended as piratical decoration. We had no way to cut it. Then I remembered! A dear friend, a woodworker and member of my writing group, had sharpened my sword, turning it into a real weapon. I pulled out the blade and began cutting rope into usable pieces. We roped down the sides, tied them to the tent stakes, and passed a long section over the top of the tent to hold down the errant linen cover.

The time for my first storytelling presentation came, and I dashed off to do that. High winds prevented putting up my sign, but my new sound system worked well, and people seemed to enjoy my tales. Afterward we made one more trip to the tent, but it was useless to do anything further to prevent disaster.

The next morning, the linen top had disappeared. We found it hanging down the back of the tent, still secured by a single piece of rope. As we were trying to drag it back into position, Jeff told me, “I’m so often impressed by your commitment to realism. But now I want Velcro. Lots and lots of Velcro.”

Velcro would have been a very good thing.

That day, Saturday, was quiet. Apart from feeling odd whenever I left the tent – I was actually missing the moving walls- life was pretty good. I did my shows, and had a chance to check out some of the other performers and the Thieves’ Market.  Did a little shopping.

And then Jeff tells me that the next day will have thirty mile an hour winds.

We packed up that night, put the tent in the car, and with the organizer’s blessing, moved my table, signage and books into the vendor’s tent. The people who had put their tent next to us spent most of Sunday just keeping it from blowing away. As for us, we lived. I made my last show at 5:00 Sunday, and we went home. I can’t say it was really fun, but it was an adventure, and now I can write with authority about wind.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Pirate Empire Presents: Fun With Flags.

I was attending Port Washington Family Pirate Daze in Wisconsin over the weekend, and saw a flag I didn’t recognize, It was this one:

It’s the Royal Standard of the Sovereign  of the United Kingdom – the Official standard (officially a war-banner) used by Queen Elizabeth II and all British rulers since 1837. It flies over whatever home, castle, ship or limo they happen to be in. The date a little late (ok, a lot late) for our time period, but it got the thinking about how various flags have changed over the years.

This one features (twice) the three royal lions of England, the single royal lion of Scotland, and the harp of Ireland. (When in Scotland, the flag is changed to this one, with two Scottish lions. Apparently, the Scots are very persistent in getting what they want.  

This is the earliest flag of England – a red cross on a white field. It is the Cross of St. George, the patron saint of England, and has been in use since the Middle Ages, when England, like almost all or Europe, was a catholic country.

The so-called Union Jack, which became the national flag of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Wales) in 1707, had been used as a flag by the Royal Navy since 1606, and was therefore the flag that most pirates in the Caribbean would have been familiar with. The fact that it began as a sea-flag also explains why it is commonly called a “jack.” At seam the “ack” was a flag flown from the front of a ship on a short pole called a jackstaff. It is said that both jack and jackstaff relate to the name of James I, king of England in whose reign (1603–1625) the flag was designed.

Like the previous flag, Scotland had to be special, and had a versions of the flag where the white saltire went over the red cross.


France, a country with a long Catholic history, has long had the fleurs-de-lis

as its symbol, since the flower is a symbol of several Catholic saints. Since the days of Joan of Arc, French national heroine, the color white has been associated with the royal house of France. During the Golden Age, the French national flag was a white field strewn with many gold fleurs-de-lis. The naval flag of France, however, was a plain white flag, signifying purity of purpose.

‘The fact that a white flag also represents surrender or a pause for parlay was probably a source of amusement among the English.  

The Dutch flag has been a similar design since the Middle Ages, Originally the red stripe was orange, in honor of William of Orange. But orange was not a traditional heraldic color for flags, and was hard to decide on a shade. In 1630 the orange was officially changed to red.

The flag of Portugal, like the flag of France, was mostly white. The basic flag design was a crown over a shield that bore the country’s coat-of-arms. It was refurbished occasionally to reflect fashion trends in both. Peter II who became king in  in 1667, he adapted the crown by transforming it into a five-arched crown. It was refurbished again by Peter's son John V, in 1707.

A red beret was then added under the crown and the shield was given a new shape. This flag then survived into the mid-1800’s.

The Spanish, ever the conservatives, were late to come to the concept of a national flag. Ships flew the flag of the saint who was assigned the task of guarding the ship, and sometimes a regional flag. In the late Middle Ages, ships were encouraged to fly the cross of burgundy, but it could be embroidered on either a yellow or white background.

The flag below, which is mostly Spain’s coat of arms, was officially adopted in 1701 and flew until 1760 so most pirates would have recognized it.

So that’s it, the basic flags that Golden Age pirate would have seen and recognized. Sometime soon, we’ll have to take a closer look at the time period between 1701 and 1715. A lot was happening, and much of it affected pirates.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Where Have I Been? Looking for Treasure (Island)

Sorry for the long hiatus. Sometimes, in spite of a firm commitment to piracy, the World just gets in the way.

What have I been up to? Well, in addition to my house flooding with sewage (amazing how much creativity a thing like that takes out of you) I’ve been working on my latest book: Treasure Island Explained. And getting ready to Port Washington Pirate Daze (formerly the Port Washington Pirate Fest.)

Image result for port washington pirate Daze

The book:

I’ve read Treasure Island several times, and have been on a years’ long quest to see as many different movie versions as possible. Four or five years ago, I refreshed my direct knowledge of the novel by listening to on CD over several days during my morning commute.

A good reader can add a lot to the listener’s understanding of a book, and after a week or so of commuter-listening, I felt that I had a good, deep grasp of what Robert Lewis Stevenson was trying to say. But I was also aware of just how hard some of the vocabulary is.

I’ve been reading about pirates, and ships, for over ten years, and I’ve been reading history for thirty. In addition, I have the skill of picking up vocabulary in context. I’m not sure this is taught in schools anymore. But between old-fashioned words, pirate slang, and poor grammar, accurately recorded, there was ample opportunity for some people to struggle with this book.

For a long time, I had a desire to create an annotated version. All the words or concepts that folks might not “get” would be explained in sidebars. The book would be more readable to all the people who might enjoy it.

Image result for pirate vocabulary

One problem stood in my way – no digital copy of the book’s contents that could be converted to Word.. Sure, I could have typed it all out from one of my several hard copies. But if you folks haven’t noticed yet, I’m not an especially good typist.

Finally, a friend with better computer skills helped me out. (Hi, Katherine!)  At last, the annotated Treasure Island could become a reality.

Looking up words, reading up on the English Justice System, and generally keeping my nose to the grindstone to make this edition happen has taken an incredible amount of time. The job became consuming. How do you fire one of those old pistols? What are the parts of the ship? And what about the song, “Yo ho ho and a Bottle of Rum?” So many things needed to be included. I lost sleep, unable to go to bed with the project incomplete.

Then there was the proof-reading, the beta reader, (Hi, Jeff!) the re-proof reading, the formatting issues and the search for cover artwork. Finally, though a book emerged that I could be proud of. It went out to the printer, and copies are now availableon Amazon.

Along the way, I read Robert Lewis Stevenson’s masterpiece more closely than ever before. Even on the surface, it’s a great read, exciting and engrossing. But reading closely, it’s possible to see some wonderful inside jokes that aren’t immediately apparent. In one instance, Long Joh Silver askes another pirate a question about the sails, and by the time all the words are defined and the purpose of the objects in question are known, Silver has just asked “Are you some kind of blockhead?”

Stevenson also follows the tradition of characters saying “the deuce” to avoid naming the devil. But Long John Silver freely says ‘to the devil with you. ” Instead, he avoids saying the name of God, in its place referring to “The Powers.”

It’s also interesting to compare the book to the movies. In the novel, Dr. Livesey is quite hard on Jim for having run off to spy on the pirates. Never mind that Jim is only about 13 years old, and he had the best intentions. In spite of saving them all, Jim has to face some hard words from his companions. Most movies leave that out, but it says a lot about what was expected of “Englishmen” back in the day.

One thing that the movies and the book have in common. At the end, Long John Silver is still at large. This, I think, is the thing that makes the book a classic. We can still dream of running off with the famous pirate.

Treasure Island has defined the image of pirates for generations. If you haven’t read the book, you should. Check out a copy from your local library, or maybe pick up a copy of Treasure Island Explained. You’ll be glad you did.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pirate Nests

The image of a pirate haunt – or pirate nest, as they were sometimes called by royal authorities and customs officials, calls up images of violence, debauchery and decay. After all, who would let pirates wander freely around their town, among their wives and children?

Well, as it turns out, a lot of people would. Pirate “nests” included Charleston, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City, Newport, and Boston. These were towns where a pirate ship could go through the charade of stowing the Jolly Roger, breaking out a more acceptable flag, and sailing grandly into port.

Philadelphia, Pirate Nest. 

 Then, with a wink and a nod, the ne’r do wells would go about selling wares of dubious origin. If questions were asked, the answer might be that the goods “Had been retrieved from a ship that was taking on water, and needed to lighten her load.” This, they claimed, explained the lack of manifests, bills of sale, or known port of origin.

But questions were seldom asked. When good are being sold at half, perhaps a third, of their actual value, why ask? Everyone knew the sellers were pirates, after all. And those that played along made a handsome profit.

Boston Harbor

 In the late 1600’s goods were coming from all over the world. Pirates, who had been robbing the Spanish for over a century, were also taking silks, velvets, gold and ivory from the Moghul Empire in India. Many pirates of the time used the island of Madagascar as a base of operations, but they needed civilization to fence their goods. So when it was time to settle down, they went to English colonies in North America.

Most Englishmen were okay with robbing this guy

 Goods purloined from merchant ships helped to build the New World. Dealing with pirates helped the British colonies feel – and be – independent of the Crown. Here, far from “the law” fortunes could be made. All you had to do was to not look too closely at who you were dealing with.

When the better-prepared pirates wanted to leave the life, they might settle down in such a place. The Governor Eden of North Carolina issued the King’s pardon to Blackbeard, then helped him to set up a suitable house. Local rumors said that the newly pardoned pirate married a local girl – though there is no proof.

The man who signed Blackbeard's pardon/ 

 But many respectable merchants were fathers-in-law to retired pirates. Money mattered more than family in the new world, and when a dashing, rakish young man showed up with plenty of money and a history of dealing with the locals, it was natural that young women would be interested, and their fathers accepting.

When pirates bought property, and married into prominent local families, it was natural that communities would rally around a pirate who was under attack or suspicion from the authorities.

Jailbreaks and riots organized in support of alleged pirates happened throughout the British Empire during the late seventeenth century. Local political leaders openly protected men who committed acts of piracy against powers that were nominally allied or at peace with England. In large part, these leaders were protecting their own hides: Colonists wanted to prevent depositions proving that they had harbored pirates or purchased their goods. Some of the instigators were fathers-in-law of pirates.

Riot in progress!

 One example of a pirate protected by his community was a former pirate named Moses Butterworth, who in 1701, was languishing in a Middletown, New Jersey jail, accused of piracy. Butterworth had already confessed to sailing with the notorious Captain Kid.

Governor Andrew Hamilton and his entourage rushed to Monmouth County Court to try Butterworth for his crimes.

But Samuel Willet, a community leader, sent a drummer to sound the alarm. Thomas Johnson gathered a company of men who, armed with guns and clubs, attacked the courthouse. A contemporary estimated the crowd at over a hundred East Jersey residents. The noise of shouting men, along with the “Drum beating,” made it impossible to speak to Butterworth. No one was able to ask him about his financial and social relationships with the local gentry.

After a scuffle in which two townsfolk were injured, the so-called pirate was freed and the Governor, a sheriff and judge were locked up in his place. When the judge and his people were finally released they confessed that they had feared for their lives.

Governor Andrew Hamilton

 The townspeople believed that they were protecting their own freedom to deal with whomever they pleased. But these people were protecting their own hides as well.  Colonists wanted to prevent depositions proving that they had harbored pirates or purchased their goods. Some of these instigators were fathers-in-law of pirates.

But these otherwise upstanding members of the community rebelled in support of sea marauders. Many colonists were afraid that crack-downs on piracy hid darker intentions to strengthen royal authority, or perhaps set up admiralty courts (which operated without juries,) or even force free-thinking colonials to join the Anglican Church.

So protecting pirates was a social, economic and political statement.