Captain Kidd not a pirate? The truth may be stranger than Treasure Island – leader comment

Captain Kidd is thought by some to have been born in Dundee in 1645. Picture: JPIMEDIA
Captain Kidd is thought by some to have been born in Dundee in 1645. Picture: JPIMEDIA
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Captain Kidd is one of the world’s most infamous pirates, so notorious that he was worthy of a mention in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

Or was he?

According to lawyer Mike Dailly, William Kidd was the victim of “one of the biggest miscarriages of justices in the UK”.

Rather than a criminal pirate, he was a state-sanctioned privateer who fought for England against the French in the 1690s, but latterly fell foul of a change in international politics that turned him into a convenient “fall guy”.

READ MORE: In defence of Captain Kidd

READ MORE: Scots pirate Kidd’s treasure found in Madagascar

There is the question of what happened to a fortune in gold, silver and silk, worth about £12 million in today’s money, that Kidd was said to have buried, and how a crewmate came to have been killed, which led to Kidd’s conviction for murder.

But miscarriages of justice are a simple fact of life that, try as hard as we might, we have not been able to eradicate.

So we should not simply dismiss the idea that Kidd was innocent of the charges that saw him hanged and gibbeted over the River Thames for three years as a warning to others.

As we know, the truth can often be stranger than fiction.