Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak. — John Adams

America First - Lawton Evans




Blackbeard the Pirate

In the days before the Revolution, the high seas surrounding America were infested with robbers, called pirates. Their ships, manned by desperate men, and carrying cannon and arms for fighting, scoured the ocean highways, and attacked peaceable and slow sailing vessels, which they robbed of merchandise; often they killed the sailors and sank the ships.

These pirates had hiding-places along the coast, especially the inlets, where they landed for supplies, sold their prizes, or buried their treasures in secret. A pirate's life was full of adventure. So terrible was the menace from these robbers that every sailing vessel dreaded to meet them on their way across the ocean, or up and down the coast.

Among these pirates was a Captain whose real name was Thatch, but who was known as "Black-beard." He wore a long black beard, of which he was very careful and proud, but which gave him a frightful look. Around his shoulders was a strap from which huge pistols hung, ready for use in case of battle. About his waist was a belt, holding his cutlass, which was so large and strong that, with one blow, he could cut off a man's head.

He was very cruel and wicked. He never hesitated to kill all the sailors on board a captured vessel, sometimes hanging them to the rigging, and often tying them securely and leaving them on their ship as it went to the bottom. Once he shot several of his own crew when they disobeyed him about a small matter.

The scene of his operations was around the shores of Virginia and North Carolina, and even as far south as the coast of Georgia. He had accomplices on shore, who bought his ill-gotten cargoes, supplied his ships with provisions, and his men with arms. He became so bold and terrible that the people of Virginia fitted out two ships to go after him and to destroy him, if they could.

Only vessels that could sail in shallow water near the coast were sent out, and these, under the command of Lieutenant Maynard. For many days the ships sailed around, looking for Blackbeard and his crew. After a while the pirate ship came into view, and hoisted her flag with the skull and cross bones, calling on Maynard to surrender. But instead, Maynard hung out his flag and dared the pirate to come on. Blackbeard drew near, and called out, "Give up your ship at once, I take no prisoners."

Maynard replied, "I shall not surrender, and I shall not show you any mercy." With that the battle began.

Maynard, after sending most of his men into the hold of his ship for safety, ran alongside the pirate. Blackbeard fired a broadside into Maynard's vessel, and, seeing no men aboard, thought that every one was killed. He therefore ordered his own crew to take possession. When the pirates came aboard, swords in hand, Maynard's men sprang from the hold of their vessel, and desperate fighting began on the deck.

Blackbeard was shot five times, besides being wounded with sword cuts. He fought bravely, calling so loudly to his men, that his voice was heard above the roar of the battle. His pistol was soon emptied, and, seizing another, he leveled it at one of Maynard's men. Just then, however, he received a wound through the head and was instantly killed. His men were taken prisoners and the battle was ended.

Maynard hung the pirate's head before the bow of his ship, and sailed back to Virginia, where the people made a great celebration in honor of his victory.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Leif, the Lucky
Spaniards Conquer Mexico
Conquest of Peru
The Fountain of Youth
De Soto and the Mississippi
Sir Walter Raleigh
The Lost Colony
Adventures of John Smith
More about John Smith
Pilgrims and Puritans
Miles Standish
Building a Canoe
Roger Williams
Old Silver Leg
William Penn
The Charter Oak
Bloody Marsh
Saving of Hadley
Sir William Phips
Hannah Dustin
Israel Putnam
A Young Surveyor
Young Washington
Indians and Major Putnam
How Detroit was Saved
Acadia
Blackbeard the Pirate
Daniel Boone
Sunday in the Colonies
The Salem Witches
Traveling by Stage-coach
King George and the Colonies
Patrick Henry
Paul Revere
Green Mountain Boys
Father of his Country
Nathan Hale
Elizabeth Zane
Capturing the Hessians
Lafayette Comes to America
Lydia Darrah
Captain Molly Pitcher
The Swamp Fox
Outwitting a Tory
Supporting the Colors
Nancy Hart
Mad Anthony
Execution of Major Andre
How Schuyler was Saved
An Indian Trick
Winning the Northwest
Benjamin Franklin
Nolichucky Jack
Eli Whitney
Thomas Jefferson
Burning of the Philadelphia
Lewis and Clark
Colter's Race for Life
Pike Explores Arkansas Valley
How Pumpkins Saved a Family
Old Ironsides
Tecumseh
Star Spangled Banner
Traveling by Canal
Lafayette Returns
Osceola, Seminole Chief
Journey by Railroad
Old Hickory
Daniel Webster
Henry Clay
Plantation Christmas
John C. Calhoun
Heroes of the Alamo
Freedom for Texas
Electric Telegraph
Gold in California
Crossing Continent
The Pony Express
Boy Who Saved Village
Rescue of Jerry
Abraham Lincoln
Robert E. Lee
Stonewall Jackson
Stealing a Locomotive
Sam Davis
Escape from Prison
Running the Blockade
Heart of the South
Surrender of Lee
Laying the Atlantic Cable
The Telephone
Thomas A. Edison
Clara Barton
Hobson and the Merrimac
Dewey at Manila Bay
Conquering Yellow Fever
Sinking of Lusitania
Private Treptow
Frank Luke, Aviator
Sergeant York