The English Political And Legal Processes Essays

2338 Words Dec 1st, 2016 10 Pages
Very few people today, perhaps those who have stared death in the face and lived to tell the tale, can possibly comprehend what it would have been like to stand on the gallows at high tide as the executioner fashioned a noose around the pirate’s neck; the last significant act before his final voyage, a short drop and a quick stop. The evolution of the English political and legal processes that delivered the defiant Captain Fly and hundreds of others of his generation to their final destination, when those of previous generations went largely unpunished, is the focus of this study.
Their contemporaries described them as “Robbers, Opposers, and Violators of all Laws, Humane and Divine.” Many viewed themselves as a more selfish reincarnation of Robin Hood, stealing from wealthy merchants, foreign traders, and abusive captains, and in doing so, threatening the hierarchical status quo of seventeenth and eighteenth English society by declaring “war against the world.” The Law considered them hostes humani generis, enemies of all mankind. In reality, the Anglo-American pirates that plagued colonial shipping routes for over sixty years were none of those things, or perhaps more accurately, were not one but a combination them. They were all robbers, since piracy in its most elementary definition is nothing more than robbery at sea, something the English Admiralty recognized from its establishment in the fourteenth century. There was also some relevance to their self-perceptive…

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