A Brief History of Captain William Kidd
William "Captain" Kidd (January 22, 1645 -
Early life and career
Kidd was born into a reputable family in Greenock, Scotland. (Aberdeen University researchers claim that Kidd was born in Dundee Scotland in 1645). However after the death of his father when he was five, Kidd's family's income was severely reduced. As a young man he chose to head out to sea, and bounced around freely from ship to ship for three decades. After war broke out between England and France, he showed courage and a bit of lucky timing in winning French ship and saving English troops from destruction. With his newfound prestige, he finally settled in New York in 1691, at the age of thirty-
Later that year, on orders from the province of New York, Massachusetts, he captured an enemy privateer on the New England coast. Shortly thereafter, Kidd was awarded L150 for successful privateering in the Caribbean. One year later, "Captain" Culliford, a notorious pirate, stole Kidd's ship while he was ashore at Antigua in the West Indies. In 1695, William III of England replaced the corrupt governor Benjamin Fletcher, known for accepting bribes of one hundred dollars to allow illegal trading of pirate loot, with Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont.
On December 11 that same year, Coote, who was now governing New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, asked the "trusty and well beloved Captain Kidd"  to attack Thomas Tew, John Ireland, Thomas Wake, William Maze, and all others who associated themselves with pirates, along with any enemy French ships. This preceded the voyage which established his reputation as a pirate, and cemented his image in history and folklore.
The new ship, the Adventure Galley, was well suited to the task of catching pirates; weighing over 284 tons, it was equipped with 34 cannons, oars, and 150 men. The oars were a key advantage as it would enable him to maneuver in a battle when the winds had calmed and other ships were floating free. Kidd took pride in personally selecting the crew, choosing only those he deemed to be the best and most loyal officers. Unfortunately, soon after setting sail he was stopped by the HMS Duchess, whose captain enlisted much of Kidd's crew for service in the navy, despite rampant protesting. To make up for the lack of officers, Kidd was sent replacement crew, the vast majority of which consisted of known and hardened criminals, some undoubtedly former pirates.
In September of 1696, Kidd finally set sail again. However, more bad luck struck and a third of his crew soon perished due to the uncontrolled spread of cholera. To make matters worse, the brand-
Acts of savagery on Kidd’s part were reported by escaped prisoners, who told of being hoisted up by the arms and drubbed with a naked cutlass. On January 30, 1698 he raised French colors and took his greatest prize, an Armenian ship, the 400 tons Quedagh Merchant, which was loaded with satins, muslins, gold, silver, an incredible variety of East Indian merchandise, as well as extremely valuable silks. The captain of the Quedagh Merchant was an Englishman named Wright, who was sailing under the promised protection of the French government. However, after realizing the captain of the taken vessel was an Englishman, Kidd tried to persuade his crew to return the ship to its owners but they refused. Thus, Kidd changed his focus and took his prize claiming it was legal prey for an English privateer. Unfortunately, when news of the deed reached England, along with horrifying tales of torture, the British East India Company declared Kidd a pirate. Various naval commanders were ordered to "pursue and seize the said Kidd and his accomplices" for the "notorious piracies" they had committed.
On April 1, 1698 Kidd reached Madagascar. Here Kidd found the first pirate of his voyage, Robert Culliford, (the same man who had stolen Kidd’s ship years before) and his crew sailing the Mocha Frigate. Kidd ordered his men to capture the Mocha Frigate. Instead his men mutinied and joined the pirates of the Mocha Frigate. Only 13 of Kidd’s men remained loyal to him.
Deciding to return home, Kidd left the Adventure Galley behind ordering her to be burnt because she had become worm-
Prior to Kidd returning to New York City, he learned that he was a wanted pirate, and that several English men-
Kidd was eventually (after over a year) sent to England to stand trial, and on May 8 he was tried by High Court of Admiralty in London for the charges of piracy on high seas and the murder of William Moore. Whilst awaiting trial, Kidd was imprisoned in the infamous Newgate Prison and wrote several letters to the joint sovereigns, William III of England and Mary II of England, demanding clemency.
Kidd stood trial without representation and was shocked to learn at trial that he was charged with Murder. He was found guilty on all charges (murder and five counts of piracy) and was hanged on May 23, 1701 at 'Execution Dock', Wapping, in London. During the execution, the hangman's rope broke and Kidd was hanged on the second attempt. His body was gibbeted -