By Barbara McLennan
Blackbeard and his fleet sail the Atlantic coast and Caribbean capturing many ships and enriching themselves. Andrew Morgan from Virginia, Blackbeard’s gunner, invests his shares with a banker in Philadelphia. Andrew visits friends in Virginia and agrees to bring along young Benjamin Harrison on one of his spring voyages. Ben is eighteen, has just completed his studies, and has been promised in marriage to a daughter of King Carter of Virginia.
Ben witnesses Blackbeard’s election as captain and impresses Blackbeard with his education and family background. Blackbeard allows him to become assistant navigator on his ship and Ben is included, along with the navigator, in meetings of the ship’s officers. When they get to the Bahamas, Ben, who has made enemies, duels with the previous assistant navigator. He also meets the governor of Jamaica and becomes aware of the dangers awaiting Blackbeard and other privateers.
Upon their return to the mainland Andrew marries his banker’s daughter and is present when Blackbeard blockades Charles Towne harbor. Ben, who has received a small ship from Blackbeard for his hard work at sea, returns to Virginia and is elected burgess.
Ben meets Governor Spotswood and participates in Spotswood’s fall in Virginia politics. Ben also learns of Spotswood’s plan to murder Blackbeard and travels to Ocracoke trying to warn the captain. There, from another ship, he witnesses Blackbeard’s assassination at the hands of Spotswood’s hired killers.
Andrew and Ben live through the aftermath: trials, executions, political recrimination from London and North Carolina, Spotswood’s seizure of large tracts of property, and Spotswood’s eventual replacement as governor. This is followed by marriages, new families, new businesses, the growth of trade and manufacturing, and fond memories of Blackbeard.
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