Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/88

This page has been validated.



Dansekar, or "Dansekar the Dutchman," was a Fleming of Flushing, who commenced pirate by running away with a ship from Marseilles. He seems to have been a more humane man than Ward; for he objected to Ward's habit of selling Christian prisoners to the Turks. He was merciful to merchants of his own nationality, while Ward, as Professor Laughton tells us, robbed all nations "with exemplary impartiality." When he quarrelled with Ward, he abandoned Tunis, and removed his ships and pirates to Algiers. This breaking-up of the partnership so weakened Ward's position with the Bey, that he seems to have been anxious for his safety, and eager to make new alliances. An English merchant, who saw him at Tunis at this crisis, writes of him as being "in a desperate plight," eager to give up some 40,000 crowns' worth of booty, if, for such a bribe, King James would pardon him, and allow him to land in England, with some three hundred of his gang. However, the desperate plight was not so desperate as the merchant thought. According to Sir Henry Wotton, Ward was "beyond a doubt the greatest scoundrel that ever sailed from England." At the