The True & Complete Memoirs of the Pyrate Captain Extraordinaire!
The Illustrious Captain, John ‘Bartholomew’ Roberts
The Most Successful Pyrate of ALL Time!
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Quarter-Master. British and Anglo-American pirates delegated unusual amounts of authority to the Quarter-Master who became almost the captain's equal. Pirates disliked ridgid rules, and there were exceptional situations. The captain retained almost unlimited authority during battle, but he was subject to the Quarter-Master in many routine situations. In this way, as Walter Kennedy explained at his trial, pirate crew's avoided putting too much power in one persons hands. As with the captain, the Quarter-Master was elected by the crew and received and extra share when the booty was divided. If the pirates decide to keep a captured ship, the Quarter-Master often took over as captain. The Quarter-Master represented the "Interest of the Crew". Above all, he protected the seaman against each other by maintaining order, settling quarrels, and distributing food and other essentials. Serious crimes were tried by jury, but the Quarter-Master could punish minor offenses. Only the Quarter-Master could flog a seaman after a vote from the Crew. The Quarter-Master took part in all battles and often led attacks by boarding parties. If the pirates won, he decided what loot to take. He was compelled to seize gold, silver and jewels. But he took more bulky cargo at his discretion.
Boatswain: like the Quarter-Master functioned as something of a foreman. He summoned the crew to work. His specific duties centered around the upkeep of the rigging. He had to be sure that all lines and cables were sound and that the sails and anchors were in good condition.
Gunner: sometimes with the help of a boy or "powder monkey", tended the artillery and ammunition. The Gunner needed experience to avert or handle the potential disaster of a cannon bursting or overheating, or recoiling out of control. A knowledgeable Gunner was essential to the crew's safety if a ship had any pretense to self-defense.
Carpenter: an important specialist in a wooden world, was responsible for the soundness of the ship. He repaired masts, yards, boats and machinery. He checked the hull regularly placing oakum between the seems of the planks, and used wooden plugs on leaks to keep the vessel tight. His was highly skilled work which he learned through apprenticeship. Often he had a mate whom he in turn trained.
The common sailor, which was the backbone to the ship, needed to know the rigging and the sails. As well as how to steer the ship and applying it to the purposes of navigation. He needed to know how to read the skies, weather, winds and moods of his commanders. Other jobs on the ships were surgeon (for large vessels), cooks, cabin boys and navigators. There were many jobs divided up amongst the officers, sometimes one man would perform two functions. During this time in history if you were part of his/her Majesty's Navy you would be ruled with an iron fist on land and at sea was a bit worse. In the Royal Navy the Captain had complete authority to hang you if he so decided. One of the most alluring attractions to becoming a pirate was escaping dictatorship and embracing democracy. This was also the chance for the trampled poor man to make a name and fortune for himself. The pirates called themselves "The Brethren of the Coast".
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