Kidd was born near Dundee in Scotland United Kingdom of Britain in 1645. His father a sea captain in the Kings Navy was shipwrecked and lost at sea when William was but a boy. He dreamed of being a Navy commander and became fascinated by the world of ships. When able he made up his mind to make the long journey to London to put his case to the King.
He seemed an honest man who took his chance and put his case to the King. Kidd wanted to sail with the Navy but that King Charles was a man who never could promise anything. What he did come up with would line the Kings pockets with treasure as he made Kidd his pirate catcher. He would have his own command to sail the seas looking for pirates to capture. All treasure taken back to England into the Kings chests. Kidd paid out of what he brought in. Not a good job or a safe deal with such a man as King Charles 11 who was famous for forgetting who served him well. Here was a mighty King whos promise none relied upon, he never said a foolish thing but never spoke a wise one.
King Charles the second.
Kidd set off with a full company of trained navy sailors. It is noted that Kidd himself was no sea man. Indeed many of them had sailed in war ships and he could not handle them with so little knowledge. When they had sailed to the middle of the Indian Ocean and not a pirate in sight the crew lost faith in Captain Kidd having no plan so many of them in port changed back to other Naval ships crews. Kidd was left with a few men who could not sail the ship. He had no choice so went ashore and offered jobs to sailors, who many of them, if not all had piracy crimes against them. He had little choice but it is logged that he fell out with many of his new crew who wanted to board richer ships to rob them. It was hell for Kidd who had honestly done all with dignity loyal to the King.
What happened then they came across a large trader ship and it looked as if pirates were aboard her. Not British Navy men. They attacked and soon won the fight. It was soon discovered that they had captured traders from the East Indies Company racing to England backed by Royal command papers. Kidd knew this now but his pirate crew cared not.
It was Kidd who needed a faster ship so he took over and called the vessel “Adventure Prize.” From this point on Kidd may have crossed the line into piracy. It is a fine grey line.
Kidd had not know that the ship belonged to The famous trading company and may well have seen it as a pirate ship. By now he knew he was for it as her papers showed him how wrong his action had been. He raced back to explain in London. He was arrested as soon as he appeared to see the King. Thrown in jail and ready to be hanged Kidd tried his luck by pulling out his ace card and played it. He promised he had buried that said ships fortune on an island near the location of the ship attack. He asked to be forgiven when the booty was found.
The Governor was contacted and in went men to search and soon found Kidds hurriedly buried haul. It was sent back to London as proof Kidd was a pirate. Once received by the King Kidd was tried and found guilty and sentenced to hang. On his last night he told of another larger Treasure but no one believed him. He met with God on 23rd day of May in the year of Grace 1701. His body was caged and hung out on the Thames River banking for all to see what happened to pirates. He left a wife Sarah m. 1691 and two children Sarah and Elizabeth Kidd.
Was he a pirate or a Kings pirate catcher? I think he was unlucky and foolish to trust a self loving minded cash crazy King in the first place.
This other treasure is suspect as Kidd never had time to build a fortune even if he had turned pirate.So did he build a trap on Oak Island in Nova Scotia ? No he clearly never did. Who ever claimed it was Kidds treasure must never have traced Kidds movements or seen how short his career was. The treasure sent back to London was hardly treasure but the belongings of that ship he had taken that his crew had set on fire as to proof against them all would be lost.
The legend that followed Kidds death is mostly urban myth yet again. Many became Pirates owing to ability to sail. Some fell into piracy like Morgan being captured as a boy in Bristol port and slavery, served at the mast, enlisted eventually as a pirate himself.
Kidd only ever wanted to serve the navy and the King until circumstance hit him hard in the face and the King who washed his hands of him could have saved him.
The treasure at Kidds trial was never shown but referred to as Kings cash stolen.It really belonged to the East Indies Company from the ship Kidds men took as pirate vessel. Even if that is not fully right what could he do with a crew bent of piracy anyway. One man against 50 is not really worth arguing with. They may even have killed him as he seems to have failed as a leader who had little sailing qualifications before he went to see about a navy appointment that would have trained him as a sailor. Then the greedy King had other plans for his subject. Kidd was used by Charles as many others had been.
I think Kidd was no real pirate nor is there proof he was as he admitted his error honestly by putting his own neck in the noose believing to the end in the King who employed him. it is certain that his second treasure was just a ploy to buy more time. It is why the Admiralty did not take any notice of Kidds talk. It may even be owing to them being fully aware that their prisoner was no pirate in the first instant.
Since then every Discovery TV Program that talks of treasure of any sort relate it to William Kidd. Oak Island pit was not made by he. More some cruel engineer who just wanted to show he had skill in fooling all . He may rest in peace, he succeeded.
As for the legacy of Captain William Kidd, history proclaimed him a pirate, without proof.
Yours, with best wishes, Sir Kevin.
Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2018.