[JOHNSON, Captain Charles (fl. 1724-1736); sometimes attributed to Daniel DEFOE]
The History and Lives of the most Notorious Pirates, and their Crews ... the third edition
London: Sabine and Son, [circa 1780]. 12mo. (7 x 4 inches). 96pp. 15 woodcut full-page illustrations.
Publisher's wrappers, upper wrapper with a large woodcut portrait of Capt. Martel (repeated from the illustration on p. 27), lower wrapper with publisher's ads.
Scarce 18th-century, illustrated chapbook edition of Johnson's "Lives of Pirates."
This fascinating work, first published in 1724, was an instant success. The work remained in print in various languages throughout the 18th and 19th centuries - with over 30 editions being published before 1900. It now serves as one of the most important contemporary printed sources for information about the British pirates of the first decades of the 18th century. It includes chapters on all the great ones: Captain Avery, Edward Blackbeard Teach, Steed Bonnet, Bartholomew Roberts, Henry Morgan and others. Also includes chapters on two female pirates, Mary Read and Anne Bonny. "This work is considered a sequel to Exquemelin's Bucaniers of America, and most of the pirates it records operated in the West Indies and American waters ... Nothing is known of the author who called himself Captain Johnson, and the name may be an assumed one. Beginning in 1724, and continuing to the present day, books on pirates have appeared under his name. There is no evidence to support the idea that Johnson was an actual pirate, even though his accounts seem remarkably accurate. There also appears to be little substance to the coincidence that a contemporary dramatist of the same name wrote a play, The successful pyrate, about a popular hero Captain Avery. J. R. Moore identified Captain Johnson as Daniel Defoe ... , but this was contested by P. N. Furbank and W. R. Owens in 1988, as well as by David Cordingly in a 1998 edition of Johnson. If the author was Defoe, it is interesting to note that he also wrote an elaborate review of the work" (Hill). Others, including his bibliographer Moore, have attributed the work to Daniel Defoe based on the internal relationship to his works of proven authorship (cf. J.R. Moore, Defoe in the pillory. 1939. p. 126-188). The National Maritime Museum notes that there is "considerable evidence' to suggest that 'Johnson may well have been a nom de plume used by Daniel Defoe" (Piracy & Privateering p. 83). This edition not recorded by ESTC and with only one example in OCLC.