Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/187

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V

JACK BALLISTER’S FORTUNES

I

WE, of these times, protected as we are by the laws and by the number of people about us, can hardly comprehend such a life as that of the American colonies in the early part of the eighteenth century, when it was possible for a pirate like Capt. Teach, known as Blackbeard, to exist, and for the governor and the secretary of the province in which he lived perhaps to share his plunder, and to shelter and to protect him against the law.

At that time the American colonists were in general a rough, rugged people, knowing nothing of the finer things of life. They lived mostly in little settlements, separated by long distances from one another, so that they could neither make nor enforce laws to protect themselves. Each man or little group of men had to depend upon his or their own strength to keep what belonged to them, and to prevent fierce men or groups of men from seizing what did not belong to them.

It is the natural disposition of everyone to get all that he can. Little children, for instance, always try to take away from others

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