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Pirate Imagery in the Rare Book Collection – Day 3

We are all gearing up for Pirates Pack the Park this weekend at The Mariners’ Museum and so I thought I’d share some of the Pirate treasures we have in the Library for each day leading up to the big event.

In The Pirates Own Book or authentic narratives of the lives, exploits, and executions of the most celebrated sea robbers, I’ll be sharing some of the illustrations and bits of history that still make the pirates from long ago so intriguing.

Here’s two for today:

Capt. Kidd hanging in chains

They say Captain Robert Kidd was twice hung for murder because the first rope broke from his weight. A week after the second (successful) hanging at Execution Dock, the bodies of Captain Kidd and his crew members were hung up in chains and lined up along the river banks where they stayed for many years.
So what were some of the things he did to deserve this?
– He boarded a vessel and hoisted a man up by the arms and beat him with a cutlass in order to make him confess where the money was hidden… Too bad they didn’t have any on board. Instead, Kidd took a bale of pepper and a bale of coffee.
– He killed a gunner (albeit accidentally). The gunner stated that Kidd had ruined them all after he refused to attack a Dutch ship. After calling him a dog, Kidd struck him with a bucket and broke his skull.
– He burnt and pillaged houses in the Malabar Islands and had his men tie a man to a tree and shoot him
And so on…
Unfortunately, Kidd missed a proclamation stating that any pirate who surrenders himself by the end of April 1699 will receive the king’s free pardon. Captain Kidd nine others were arraigned for piracy and murder on the high seas in May of 1701.

The head of Benevides stuck on a pole
This gruesome image of Vincent Benevides was meant to terrify anyone else who dared to imitate him. He was dragged from the prison in a pannier that was tied to a mule, hung in a great square and later, his hands and head were cut off and placed on poles for display in the locations of his crimes: Santa Juona, Tarpellanca and Arauca.
In 1818, after deserting to the Spaniards during the Chilean revolution, Benevides returned from the grave and along with his band of robbers, slaughtered countless Araucan Indian men, woman and children to aid the Spanish troops. I say he returned from the grave because he was sentenced to death for defecting but he feigned death after being shot and stabbed. After his first “execution” he was dragged away and left to be eaten by the vultures, but he managed to hide until night fell and returned to exact his revenge on Chile.
So Kidd and Benevides led violent and criminal lives, but I can almost guarantee that the pirates coming to The Mariners’ Museum Pirates Pack the Park event on Saturday, September 21, 2013 from 10am – 5pm will be quite tame in comparison.
If you want to see how real pirates carried themselves, make sure to head over to the pirate encampments. You’ll see how they may have dressed, an example of the tools/weapons with which they made infamous history and, best of all, you get to hear them talk like pirates.
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