Because Imagination can lead to Error, by its very Nature.
That Edward Teach, known as Blackbeard, deck’d himself with Fuse, and lighted it on Engagement with his Enemies to provide a scaring sight — as a contrary it could be asserted to be less good to engage Enemies during a Time when you are unsure whether you will be in hot Flames at a Moment — so that, surely, is not true,— the Picture has been warp’d to provide a selling Account of Pyrates.
Not so, that there was once a Band of Pyrates who reliev’d a Ship’s Company only of their Hats, out of some Gallantrie, to replace those they themselves had lost on account of Drunkenness the previous Night. No, they took hold on that Cargoe, and that Cargoe will be at Guiney.
And conspicuously not so, the made-up Tale of Libertatia, a distant Land where the Pyrates settled down to become Farmers, holding the land in common, a Farrago of Equalitie:—
“No Hedge bounded any particular Man’s Property.”
Also: “Money being of no Use where every Thing was in common”.
And much more of the Like. A Ship-man’s Tale, and one that has deceiv’d a goodly few Authors on the Doings of Pirates, the soft-head Fools that they usually are.
Saintsbury will dilate on ‘t, oft-times at a considerable Flow.
—Pirates are not the fine Lads that they are spoken of back in England. Times are when they are held as Robin Hoods of the Sea, and to be a Heroe to the common Man (but that is the English and their natural Distaste for Regiment, I know).
Pyrates, I say, are unmoved at Distress or Poverty, not only do they spoil and rob, but do it from Men needy, those who are purchasing their Livelihoods through Hazard and Difficultie, which ought rather to move our Compassion more.
Piracy cuts off the Returns of Industry, and those needfull Importations that can bring a smaller Island to flourish, need I go on? As for this Account of Pyrates, it is a Sedition, I will have no more of it.
“So, on most Days, God is our best Imaginer; and better if Men did Less of it.” By Sir Benjamin Saintsbury, speaking on this Day.