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CAPTAIN JOHN KIDD was born in Greenock, Scotland in 1650. He went to sea and became a trader out of New York, where he became the owner of a small vessel. He traded among the pirates, and obtained a knowledge of their haunts, and could give a better account of them than any other person. In 1695 he was appointed by the governor of the province of New York to assist in suppressing piracy, and received two commissions from the King, one as privateer against the French, and the other, a roving commission to pursue and capture pirates wherever he might find them.

A vessel was purchased and named the "Adventure Galley," and in this Kidd sailed to the Madeira Islands, Bonavista, St. Jago, and to Madagascar. Then he went to the entrance of the Red Sea, from there to Calicut, and there he took a ship of one hundred fifty tons burden. He sold this prize in Madagascar and then took the "Quedah Merchant," a ship of more than four hundred tons burden, with a Moorish crew. He took the ship to St. Mary's, where he burned the "Adventure Galley" belonging to his owners, and divided the lading of the "Quedah Merchant" with his crew, taking forty shares for himself. He then sailed for the West Indies where he was refused port. Then he went to a port near Porto Rico, where he obtained provisions and a sloop, in which he stored part of his ill-gotten gains. He purchased this sloop from an Englishman named Bolton. He left the "Quedah Merchant" in Bolton's care and sailed for Boston, disposing of most of his cargo along the way. Bolton sold the "Quedah Merchant" and sailed for Boston, arriving long before Captain Kidd.

When Kidd arrived, he was seized, and all he had to say in his defense was that he thought the "Quedah Merchant" was a lawful prize as she was manned by Moors. He was also charged with murder, having killed a mutinous gunner aboard the "Adventure Galley." He was sent to England and found guilty of murder and piracy. He was condemned and hanged at Execution Dock, London, in 1701, protesting of his innocence to the last.