Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 93
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 93
 
merchantmen sailing under rival flags. Even if a vessel did not smuggle, she was liable at any moment to be seized on the pretext that she was trying to; and so, as she had to undergo the dangers in any event, she felt no reluctance in attempting to gather the profits when occasion offered. Again, the line dividing the work of the privateer from the work of the pirate was easy to overstep, and those who employed the one were not reluctant at times to profit by the deeds of the other. The pirate merely continued in somewhat exaggerated form against all nations, at all times, the practices which the privateer employed against certain nations at certain times. There were plenty of both merchants and seamen in New York who failed to draw any nice distinction between the two classes of vessels; and the fullarmed, strongly manned trading-ship, which alone was employed in the more perilous water-paths of commerce, and which was always ready to do privateering work in time of actual war, in time of peace was not unapt to hoist the black flag for the nonce in distant seas, or at least to barter freely with the acknowledged pirates. The slavers in particular, whose crews and captains were sure to be rough, hardened, greedy men, wonted to bloodshed and violence, were very likely to turn pirate as occasion offered; while the pirates were equally willing to engage in the slave-trade, and

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