"The Commission of Reprisals justified the taking of French Merchant Ships in times of war...."


Capt. Kidd had also another commission, which was called a commission of reprisals; for it being then war time, this commission was to justify him in the taking of French merchant ships, in case he should meet with any; but as this commission is nothing to our present purpose, we shall not burthen the reader with it.

Previous to sailing, Capt. Kidd buried his bible on the sea-shore, in Plymouth Sound; its divine precepts being so at variance with his wicked course of life, that he did not choose to keep a book which condemned him in his lawless career.

With these two commissions he sailed out of Plymouth in May, 1696, in the Adventure galley, of 30 guns, and 80 men; the place he first designed for was New-York; in his voyage thither, he took a French banker, but this was no act of piracy, he having a commission for that purpose, as we have just observed.

When he arrived at New-York, he put up articles for engaging more hands, it being necessary to his ship's crew, since he proposed to deal with a desperate enemy.

The terms he offered, were, that every man should have a share of what was taken, reserving for himself and owners forty shares. Upon which encouragement he soon increased his company to 155 men.

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