The object of the following collection of documents is not to give the whole history of any episode of piracy or of the career of any privateer, but rather, by appropriate selection, to illustrate, as well as is possible in one volume, all the different aspects of both employments, and to present specimens of all the different sorts of papers to which they gave rise.
II. c. 7 extended to the plantations the crown's authority to appoint such commissions (see docs. no. 104, note 1, no. 106, note 1, and no. 201). A curious signed agreement to commit piracy will be found in doc. no. 50; indictments for that crime in docs. no. 56, no. 119, and no. 120; partial records of trials in docs. no. 112, no. 113, and nos. 119-122. A full account of an execution, explicit enough to satisfy the most morbid curiosity, is presented in doc. no. 104. Nos. 123 and 124 are formal bills for the execution, the digging of the graves, and the cheering drams which the executioners found needful after their grisly work.
But if American colonial piracy presents a smaller array of legal documents than American colonial privateering, it makes up for it by its rich abundance of picturesque narrative and detail. The pieces here brought together show us piracy off Lisbon and in the East Indies and at Madagascar, at Portobello and Panama and in the South Sea, in the West Indies, and all along the At