Captain John Ward: Pirate

Christopher Lloyd offers a portrait of the most notorious pirate of his day, John Ward; who helped introduce Barbary corsairs to the use of the well-armed, square-rigged ships of northern Europe with which they terrorised the Mediterranean.

No pirate enjoyed greater notoriety in his own day than Captain John Ward. The early seventeenth-century hero - or anti-hero - of three ballads, two black letter chapbooks and a play, is seldom heard of today, but his career may be pieced together from the numerous complaints made about him in the Venetian State Papers and the citations in the records of the High Court of Admiralty.

Since he operated in the Mediterranean, he escaped the censure of the formidable judge of that court, Sir Julius Caesar. And since he made a success of his career, the last we see of him is living in a palace in Tunis enjoying his hobby of hatching chickens from an incubator.

All the world about has heard

Of Danseker and Captain Ward

And of their proud adventures every day

...sang the ballad monger.

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