Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/56

This page needs to be proofread.
32
LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

hensible, of course, but it had flourished on a much larger scale in the godly ports of Boston and New York during an earlier era.

It was to put a stop to such scandalous traffic that Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, had been sent out by King William III in 1695 as royal governor of the colonies of New York and Massachusetts. Colonial merchants, outwardly the pattern of respectability, were in secret partnership with the swarm of pirates which infested the American coast and waxed rich on the English commerce of the Indian Ocean.

"I send you, my Lord, to New York," said King William to Bellomont, "because an honest and intrepid man is wanted to put these abuses down, and because I believe you to be such a man."

As a result of these instructions. Captain William Kidd was employed to hunt the pirates down by sea while Governor Bellomont made it hot for the unscrupulous merchants ashore who were, no doubt, the ancestors of the modern American profiteers in food and clothing, who are also most respectable men. Captain Kidd was a merchant shipmaster of brave and honorable repute who had a comfortable home in Liberty Street, New York, was married to a widow of good family, and was highly esteemed by the Dutch and English people of the town. A