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A General History of the Pyrates

Daniel Defoe

Book Overview: 

A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates is a 1724 book containing biographies of contemporary pirates. It's author uses the name Captain Charles Johnson, generally considered a pseudonym. The real identity of the author was thought by some scholars to be Daniel Defoe, although this has since been disputed. The publisher Nathaniel Mist or somebody working for him are other suggested authors. In the first volume, "Johnson" sticks fairly close to the available sources, though he embellishes the stories somewhat. Nevertheless, the book was influential in shaping popular notions of piracy and provided the standard account of the lives of many individuals still famous in the 21st century.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Steering their Course, as has been said, he sends a Boat on Board of each of the Sloops, desiring the Chief of them to come on Board of him, in order to hold a Council; they did so, and he told them he had something to propose to them for the common Good, which was to provide against Accidents; he bad them consider the Treasure they were possess’d of, would be sufficient for them all if they could secure it in some Place on Shore; therefore all they had to fear, was some Misfortune in the Voyage; he bad them consider the Consequences of being separated by bad Weather, in which Case, the Sloops, if either of them should fall in with any Ships of Force, must be either taken or sunk, and the Treasure on Board her lost to the rest, besides the common Accidents of the Sea; as for his Part he was so strong, he was able to make his Party good with any Ship they were like to meet in those Seas; that if he met with any Ship of such Strength, that he could not take her,. . . Read More