stronger and stronger to protect men in the possession of what was theirs. Governor Eden was the last of the colonial governors who had dealings with the pirates, and Blackbeard was almost the last of the pirates who, with his banded men, was savage and powerful enough to come and go as he chose among the people whom he plundered.
Virginia, at that time, was the greatest and the richest of all the American colonies, and upon the farther side of North Carolina was the province of South Carolina, also strong and rich. It was these two colonies that suffered the most from Blackbeard, and it began to be that the honest men that lived in them could endure no longer to be plundered.
The merchants and traders and others who suffered cried out loudly for protection, so loudly that the governors of these provinces could not help hearing them.
Governor Eden was petitioned to act against the pirates, but he would do nothing, for he felt very friendly toward Blackbeard—just as a child who has had a taste of the stolen sugar feels friendly toward the child who gives it to him.
At last, when Blackbeard sailed up into the very heart of Virginia, and seized upon and carried away the daughter of that colony’s foremost people, the governor of Virginia, finding that the governor of North Carolina would do nothing to punish the outrage, took the matter into his own hands and issued a proclamation offering a reward of one hundred pounds for Blackbeard, alive or dead, and different sums for the other pirates who were his followers.
Governor Spottiswood had the right to issue the proclamation, but he had no right to commission Lieutenant Maynard, as he did, to take down an armed force into the neighboring province and to attack the pirates in the waters of the North Carolina sounds. It was all a part of the rude and lawless condition of the colonies at the time that such a thing could have been done.
The governor’s proclamation against the pirates was issued