Surely pirates, taking them in their broadest sense, are as much entitled to a biographical dictionary of their own as are politicians, clergymen, race-horses, or artists in ferro-concrete, who all have their own “Who’s Who”? This volume does not pretend to be a history of piracy, but is simply an attempt to gather together, from various sources, particulars of those redoubtable pirates and buccaneers whose names have been handed down to us in a desultory way.
To write a whole history of piracy would be a great undertaking, but a very interesting one. Piracy must have begun in the far, dim ages, and perhaps when some naked savage, paddling himself across a tropical river, met with another adventurer on a better tree-trunk, or carrying a bigger bunch of bananas, the first act of piracy was committed. Indeed, piracy must surely be the third oldest profession in the world.
In this book are contained brief accounts of some of the most famous pirates and buccaneers who have left their marks upon history. Their exploits with their attending morals and motives were surely many and varied. Among their ranks heroes and villains were no less uncommon than among those who found themselves in other professions.