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efactors," and the prayer put up for the culprits' repose," as nearly," says he, "as it could be taken down in writing in a great crowd."

From the moment such a character fell into the clutches of the law he became the victim of the most terrible religious enginery the colony could produce. His trial was speedy. His conviction was sure. His sentence was imposed by the judge in a long sermon after a long prayer, and he was, on the Sunday or the Thursday before execution, brought to the meetinghouse loaded with chains, and placed in the front seats, to be reprobated and held up by name to the whole congregation behind him. The day of his death was a gala day. The entire town marched in procession behind his coffin to the foot of the Common, to Boston Neck, or to Broughton's Hill on the Charles River, where stood the gallows, from one end of which floated a huge black flag adorned with a figure of Death holding a dart in one hand and an hour-glass in the other. There, after just such prayers and exhortations as Campbell has described, the pirate would be left swinging in his chains.

Next in turn came Bellamy, the terror of every New England sailor till in 1717 he was wrecked on Cape Cod, where such of his crew as did not perish in the sea were hanged.

When George I. came to the throne New Providence was a nest of pirates, and thither a ship of war was sent to drive them out. Two sought refuge in Cape Fear River, a third took up his abode among the people of Pamlico Sound. There, protected by the governor, dreaded by the people, he squandered in riot and debauchery his ill-gotten wealth. When all was gone, Theach went back to his roving life, gathered a crew, procured a ship, cleared her as a merchantman, and was again a pirate chief. In a few weeks he was home with a rich cargo in a fine French ship. He swore the vessel had been picked up at sea. But the people knew better, sent Governor Spottiswoode word, and a man-of-war soon appeared in Pamlico Sound. Theach descried her one evening in November, 1718, and the next morning a running fight took place through the sounds and inlets of that singular coast. Discipline prevailed; the pirate was boarded, and as Theach, covered with wounds and surrounded by the dead, stepped back match in hand to fire a pistol, he fainted and fell upon the deck.

The Christian name of Theach was John; but among the wretches who manned his guns and furled his sails, and the captains who fled in terror from his flag, he passed by the name of Blackbeard. He was a boy's ideal of a pirate

chief. His brow was low; his

eyes were small; as a coal, hung

his huge, shaggy beard, black far down upon his breast. Over his shoulders were three braces of pistols; in battle, lighted matches stuck out from under his hat and protruded from behind his ears. In his fits of rage he became a demon. But his hours of good-nature were more to be feared than his moments of fury. Sometimes he would amuse the boon-companions of his crew by shooting out the light of his cabin; sometimes he would send balls whizzing past the ears or through the hair of those who sat with him at table. To mimic the Devil was a favorite sport, and on one occasion, to give greater reality to his impersonation, the hatches were battened down and the crew half stifled with the fumes of sulphur.

The death of such a character in a hand-tohand conflict on the deck of his own ship was as fine a subject for song as a writer of ballads could desire. The street ballad was then and long remained the chief source of popular information. If a great victory were won on land or sea; if a murder were committed; if a noted criminal were hanged; if a highwayman were caught; if a ship were wrecked; if a good man died; if a sailor came back from the Spanish main with some strange tale of adventure, a ballad-monger was sure to put the details into

doggerel rhyme, and the event became fixed in the mind of the people. The influence of such verses was great and lasting, the demand for them was incessant, and the printer who could furnish a steady supply was sure of a rich return. Thomas Fleet is said to have made no small part of his fortune by the sale of ballads his press struck off. James Franklin, with a like purpose in view, bade his apprentice turn his knack of rhyming to some use, suggested the themes, and when the ballads were printed sent Benjamin forth to hawk them in the street. That upon the drowning of the lightkeeper and his family sold prodigiously, for the event was recent and the man well known ; yet not a line of it remains.

From the manufacture of ballad poetry Benjamin was saved by his father, who told him plainly that all poets were beggars, and that he would do well to turn his time and talents to better use. The advice was taken, and Benjamin went on with his reading. An intense longing for books possessed him. When he had secured one, he read and reread it till he obtained another, and to get others he shrewdly gained the friendship of some booksellers' apprentices and persuaded them, in his behalf, to commit temporary theft. Urged on by him, night after night they purloined from their

masters' shelves such books as he wanted, and left them with him to read. Some were perused at leisure; some that could not long be spared were taken after the shutters were up in the evening and returned in the morning before the shutters were down. Then he would sit up till the dawn was soon to break, reading by the light of a farthing candle made in his father's shop.

Everything that he read at this time of life influenced him strongly. A wretched book on vegetable diet came into his hands, and he at once began to live on rice, potatoes, and hastypudding. He read Xenophon's "Memorabilia," and ever after used the Socratic method of dispute; he read Shaftesbury and Collins, and became a skeptic; he read a volume of Addison, and gained a delightful style.

As first published, the "Spectator" appeared in seven volumes, and of these, after many vicissitudes, the third crossed the Atlantic and fell in the way of Franklin. No one knew the contents of the Boston bookshops better than he. Yet the volume was, he tells us, the first of the series he had seen. It is not unlikely that another copy could not then be found in the province of Massachusetts Bay. However this may be, Franklin had now read the book which affected him far more deeply

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