"THE BEST CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNT OF THE FAMOUS PIRATE": FIRST EDITION OF THE DRAMATIC 1701 ACCOUNT OF CAPTAIN KIDD
KIDD, William (MITCHELL, John). A Full Account of the Proceedings in Relation to Capt. Kidd. In two Letters. London: Printed and Sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1701. Small slim quarto (6 by 8 inches), 19th-century three-quarter dark green morocco, marbled boards and endpapers; pp. 51. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $15,000.
First edition of one of the earliest works to tell the legendary story of Captain Kidd, published the same year the notorious pirate was hanged for murder.
Few men "caused more fear, speculation and gold-digging, than Captain William Kidd. Along the shores of New England and Long Island, from his day to this, men have dug in the dead of night… to find his buried Gold" (Elliott, New-England History). "When Lord Bellomont came to America to succeed Fletcher as Governor of the colony of New York, the neighborhood of New York City was a sort of rendezvous for pirates, and he early began to take measures to suppress their ravages." William Kidd, then a reputable captain, "was sent out in 1697 to capture pirates. Instead he turned pirate himself, and while he was never convicted of this charge, he was hanged at Execution Dock for the murder of one of his sailors. Some eminent noblemen, among whom was Lord Bellomont himself… were accused of complicity in Kidd's piratical scheme" (Church 797). Dr. John Mitchell, considered this work's author, here provides a Full Account "of all the Steps taken by the Earl of Bellomont, from his first hearing the name of Kidd, till he left England: and in saying so I do in effect affirm, that I was acquainted with every thing that pass'd in that affair" (1). "This is the best contemporary account of the most famous pirate of the English colonies" (Streeter 860). Authorship also variously attributed to Lord Somers or Lord Halifax (Howes M677). With tiny original gutter-edge pinholes. Sabin 37703. ESTC T127812. Title page upper corner with "225" in unidentified cursive. Small dealer description (1 by 2-1/2 inches) affixed to front pastedown. Tiny inkstamps of "duplicate" to initial blank, title page verso.
Text generally quite fresh with tiny bit of gutter-edge paper repairs, expert archival restoration to blank lower edge of rear leaf. A highly desirable near-fine copy.