upon the eleventh day of November. It was read in the churches the Sunday following and was posted upon the doors of all the government custom offices in lower Virginia. Lieutenant Maynard, in the boats that Colonel Parker had already fitted out to go against the pirates, set sail upon the seventeenth of the month for Ocracoke. Five days later the battle was fought.
Blackbeard’s sloop was lying inside of Ocracoke Inlet among the shoals and sand bars when he first heard of Governor Spottiswood’s proclamation.
There had been a storm, and a good many vessels had run into the inlet for shelter. Blackbeard knew nearly all of the captains of these vessels, and it was from them that he first heard of the proclamation.
He had gone aboard one of the vessels—a coaster from Boston. The wind was still blowing pretty hard from the southeast. There were maybe a dozen vessels lying within the inlet at that time, and the captain of one of them was paying the Boston skipper a visit when Blackbeard came aboard. The two captains had been talking together. They instantly ceased when the pirate came down into the cabin, but he had heard enough of their conversation to catch its drift. “Why d’ye stop?” he said. “I heard what you said. Well, what then? D’ye think I mind it at all? Spottiswood is going to send his bullies down here after me. That’s what you were saying. Well, what then? You don’t think I’m afraid of his bullies, do you?”
“Why, no, Captain, I didn’t say you was afraid,” said the visiting captain.
“And what right has he got to send down here against me in North Carolina, I should like to ask you?”
“He’s got none at all,” said the Boston captain, soothingly. “Won’t you take a taste of Hollands, Captain?”
“He’s no more right to come blustering down here into Gov-