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Captain William Kidd, Pirate

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This article was originally one of a set of memoranda available only on paper in The National Archives' reading rooms. It acted as a signpost to records of interest on a particular historical subject. It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date. Please feel free to edit this page to improve the information


There is a great deal of material concerning Kidd:

The Guide to Materials for American History is a good starting point for references, including those in:

ADM 1/2004 letters from Kidd 1700-1701
ADM 1/3666
ADM 2/1048
HCA 1/15including letters of marque
HCA 1/16
HCA 1/29
HCA 1/48
HCA 1/53
HCA 13/81
HCA 24/127
CO 324/26
SP 42/117
T 52/19, p134-135 Treasury warrant for the issue of the great seal to Kidd's sponsors
CO 5/860
CO 5/861 number 32 XV II Articles of Agreement

The Dictionary of National Biography also refers to the papers of Lord Bellomont in CO 5/860 which contain many other references.

There are also plenty of references in the indexes to the Calendar of State Papers, America and West Indies.

Commission to seize pirates, 26 January 1695/6

Transcription of the warrant to issue Kidd's commission CO 324/24, p639-640

Capt[ai]n Kidd Com[missi]on to Seize Pyrates.

William the Third etc to Capt[ai]n William Kidd Commander of the Ship
'Adventure Galley' or to the Commander of the said Ship for the time being.
Greeting.  Whereas Wee are informed that Capt[ai]n Thomas Too, John Ireland,
Capt[ains] Thomas Wake, Captain William Mare or Mace and other Our Subjects,
Natives or Inhabitants of New England, New Yorke, and elsewhere in Our
Plantations in America, have associated themselves with divers other wicked
and ill disposed persons and do against the Laws of Nations daily commit
many and great Pyracies, Robberies, & Depredations, upon the Seas in the
parts of America, and in other parts, to the Great hinderance, &
discouragement of Trade and Navigation and to the Danger and hurt of Our
loving Subjects, Our Allies and all others navigating the Seas upon their
lawfull Occasions.  Now Know Yee, that Wee being desirous to prevent the
aforesaid mischeifs and as farr as in Us lyes to bring the said Pyrates,
Freebooters, and Sea Rovers to Justice, have thought fitt and do hereby
give and Grant unto You the said Capt[ai]n William Kidd (to whom Our
Commiss[ione]rs for exercising the Office of Our Lord High Admiralls have
Granted a Commission as a private Man of Warr bearing date the Eleventh day
of December 1695, & unto ye Officers, Mariners and others which shall bee
under your Command) full Power and Authority to apprehend, seize, and take
into Your Custody as well the said Capt[ai]n Thomas Too, John Ireland, Capt[ai]n
Thomas Wake, Capt[ai]n William Mare or Mace, as all such Pyrates, Freebooters
and Sea Rovers being either Our Own Subjects or of other Nations associated
with them, which you shall meet with upon the said Coasts or Seas of
America or in any other Seas or parts with their Ships and Vessells, and
also such Merchandizes, Money, Goods, and Wares as shall be found on board
or with them in case they shall willingly yeild themselves; But if they
will not Submitt without fighting; Then You are by force to Compell them to
yeild: and Wee do also require you to bring or cause to be brought such
Pyrates, Freebooters, & Sea Rovers as You shall seize to a Legall Tryall.
To the end they may be proceeded against according to the Law in such
Cases; And We do hereby Charge and Command all Our Officers, Ministers, and
other Our Loving Subjects whatsoever to be aiding and assisting to You in
the Premises, And Wee do hereby enjoine You to keep an Exact Journall of
Your Proceedings in the Execution of the premises and therein to sett downe
the names of such Pyrates and of their Officers and Company and the Names
of such Ships and Vessells as you shall by Vertue of these Presents seize
and take and the Quantities of Arms, Ammunition, Provision and Loading of
such Ships and the true value of the same as near as You can judge.  And We
do hereby strictly Charge and Command you as you will answer the same att
your Utmost Perill that you do not in any manner offend or molest any of
Our Friends or Allies, their Ships, or Subjects by Colour or pretence of
these Presents or the Authority hereby granted.  In Witness etc 26th January
1695/6.

Warrant to my Lord Keeper of the same Date to affix the Great Seale.

William R