Indeed, he, along with his crew, has been accused of every crime in pirate history by popular tradition. He achieved perhaps more fame in song, story, and legend than any other pirate to sail the seven seas. However, historical record calls this characterization into question.
It is more likely that Kidd earned his reputation through circumstance and did not consider himself to even be a pirate. Kidd was born into a reputable family in Greenock, Scotland. Aberdeen University researchers claim that Kidd was born in Dundee Scotland in 1645. However after the death of his father when he was five, Kidd's family's income was severely reduced. With his newfound prestige, he finally settled in New York in 1691, at the age of thirty-seven.There he married the 20-year-old twice widow, Sarah Bradley Cox Oort. They had two daughters: Elizabeth and Sarah Kidd. The marriage eventually brought to Kidd a considerable amount of property after the legal dispute around her inheritance from her first husband was resolved. He befriended many prominent colonial citizens, including three governors.
Later that year, on orders from the province of New York, Massachusetts, he captured an enemy privateer on the New England coast. In 1695, William III of England replaced the corrupt governor Benjamin Fletcher, known for accepting bribes of one hundred dollars to allow illegal trading of pirate loot, with Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont. This preceded the voyage which established his reputation as a pirate, and cemented his image in history and folklore. Four-fifths of the cost for the venture was paid for by noble lords, who were amongst the most powerful men in England; the Earl of Orford, The Baron of Romney, the Duke of Shrewsbury and Sir John Somers.
According to Henry Gilbert writing in The Book of Pirates, Kidd's backers were rumored to include King William himself. In fact, according to a time-honored practice, the King would receive a tenth share of everything captured. Kidd and an acquaintance, Colonel Robert Livingston paid for the rest. Kidd took pride in personally selecting the crew, choosing only those he deemed to be the best and most loyal officers.
Unfortunately, soon after setting sail he was stopped by the HMS Duchess, whose captain enlisted much of Kidd's crew for service in the navy, despite rampant protesting. To make up for the lack of officers, Kidd was sent replacement crew, the vast majority of which consisted of known and hardened criminals, some undoubtedly former pirates. In September of 1696, Kidd finally set sail again.However, more bad luck struck and a third of his crew soon perished due to the uncontrolled spread of cholera. Kidd then sailed to the Malabar Coast. However, as it became obvious his ambitious enterprise was failing he became understandably desperate to cover its costs. Some of the crew now deserted Kidd the next time the Adventure Galley anchored offshore, and those who decided to stay behind made constant open-threats of mutiny. Moore fell to the deck of a fractured skull, and died the following day. Acts of savagery on Kidd's part were reported by escaped prisoners, who told of being hoisted up by the arms and drubbed with a naked cutlass. The captain of the Quedagh Merchant was an Englishman named Wright, who was sailing under the promised protection of the French government. Thus, Kidd changed his focus and took his prize claiming it was legal prey for an English privateer. Unfortunately, when news of the deed reached England, along with horrifying tales of torture, the British East India Company declared Kidd a pirate. Various naval commanders were ordered to "pursue and seize the said Kidd and his accomplices" for the "notorious piracies" they had committed. On April 1, 1698 Kidd reached Madagascar. Kidd ordered his men to capture the Mocha Frigate. Instead his men mutinied and joined the pirates of the Mocha Frigate. Only 13 of Kidd's men remained loyal to him.
Deciding to return home, Kidd left the Adventure Galley behind ordering her to be burnt because she had become worm-eaten and leaky. Prior to Kidd returning to New York City, he learned that he was a wanted pirate, and that several English men-of-war were searching for him. The governor (an investor) was away in Boston, Massachusetts. With the help of his lawyer, he negotiated with the governor in Boston and eventually agreed to come in to town. Regardless, (on July 6, 1699) he was arrested with his crew and placed in Stone Prison, spending most of the time in solitary confinement.
Kidd was eventually (after over a year) sent to England to stand trial, and on May 8 he was tried by High Court of Admirality in London for the charges of piracy on high seas and the murder of William Moore. Whilst awaiting trial, Kidd was imprisoned in the infamous Newgate Prison and wrote several letters to the joint sovereigns, William III of England and Mary II of England, demanding clemency. Kidd stood trial without representation and was shocked to learn at trial that he was charged with Murder. He was found guilty on all charges (murder and five counts of piracy) and was hanged on May 23, 1701 at'Execution Dock', Wapping, in London.
During the execution, the hangman's rope broke and Kidd was hanged on the second attempt. His body was gibbeted - left to hang in an iron cage over the River Thames, London, as a warning to future would-be pirates for two years. His associates Richard Barleycorn, Robert Lamley, William Jenkins, Gabriel Loffe, Able Owens, and Hugh Parrot were convicted, but pardoned just prior to being hung at Execution Dock. This service will be delivered by your postman.Delays to receiving your item can be caused by your Postman being unable to deliver your item as it is to big to fit through your letter box. Please make sure your address is full and correct at the time of ordering.
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