December 21, 2014
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Then and Now
The Capture of Captain Kidd
Terry D'Amato Spencer

The question of why Kidd allowed himself to be captured has aroused almost as much interesting speculation as the reports of his treasure. S.G. Arnold places the responsibility totally on Lord Bellomont. He says, "By stratagem he [Bellomont] succeeded in enticing the notorious Capt. William Kidd to come to Boston, where he had him seized and thrown into prison. He had many friends in Rhode Island and Massachusetts...all of whom Bellomont so far blinded as to induce Kidd through their influence to come to Boston."

Kidd apparently believed that Bellomont would secure for him a pardon and had learned that other pirates had been allowed to so free. Overton tells us that Kidd before leaving Block Island had sent letters to Bellomont, "earnestly declaring that all piracies which had occurred had been done by his men in a state of mutiny and never with his connivance...and had locked him up in his cabin while committing their crimes...." In addition Overton says, "Furthermore, from Block Island he had also dispatched a present of jewels to Lady Bellomont.” Overton comments further by adding, "which strange to say, she kept for some time."

Overton, like many others, believed that Kidd never would have returned to Boston had he not counted on Lord Bellomont's pardon. For a few weeks, Kidd, according to Pirates and Buccaneers of the Atlantic Coast, written by Edward Rowe Snow, spent some time strolling around the streets of Boston when suddenly Bellomont gave orders for Kidd's arrest. Kidd was placed in Boston's old stone jail from July 1699 until February 16, 1700 when he, and others accused of piracy, were sent to England. He was transported to London by Admiral Benbow in a man of war. In London he was found guilty of murdering William Moore, his mutinous gunner, and of capturing two ships belonging to the Great Mogul of the Indian Ocean. Kidd was found guilty of piracy and six of his crewmembers were sentenced to hang with him.

According to Snow, Kidd died at the Execution Dock at Wapping-on-the-Thames on the morning of May 23, 1701. He protested until the very end, saying, "My Lords, it is a very hard judgment.  For my part, I am the innocentest of them all, only I have been sworn against by perjured persons."

 

This concludes the segment on Rhode Island Pirates at the present time. Please look for more interesting stories in the near future. 


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