Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Sea-Wolves of the Mediterranean   By:

Book cover

First Page:

SEA WOLVES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

[Illustration: KHEYR ED DIN BARBAROSSA CORSAIR, ADMIRAL, AND KING.]

SEA WOLVES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN

THE GRAND PERIOD OF THE MOSLEM CORSAIRS

BY COMMANDER E. HAMILTON CURREY, R.N.

WITH PORTRAITS AND ILLUSTRATIONS

"Ships be but boards, sailors but men: There be land rats and water rats, land thieves and water thieves, I mean pirates."

Merchant of Venice .

LONDON

JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W

1910

TO THAT GRACIOUS LADY TO WHOSE COUNSEL AND ENCOURAGEMENT I OWE SO MUCH MORE THAN ANY ONE SAVE I CAN IMAGINE...

TO MY WIFE

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK

PREFACE

When the ship is ready for launching there comes a moment of tense excitement before the dogshores are knocked away and she slides down the ways. In the case of a ship this excitement is shared by many thousands, who have assembled to acclaim the birth of a perfected product of the industry of man; the emotion is shared by all those who are present. It is very different when a book has been completed. The launching has been arranged for and completed by expert hands; she like the ship gathers way and slides forth into an ocean: but, unlike the ship which is certain to float, the waters may close over and engulf her, or perchance she may be towed back to that haven of obscurity from which she emerged, to rust there in silence and neglect. There is excitement in the breast of one man alone to wit, the author. If his book possesses one supreme qualification she will escape the fate mentioned, and this qualification is interest. As the weeks lengthened into months, and these multiplied themselves to the tale of something like twenty four, the conviction was strengthened that that which had so profoundly interested the writer, would not be altogether indifferent to others. For some inscrutable reason the deeds of sea robbers have always possessed a fascination denied to those of their more numerous brethren of the land; and in the case of the Sea wolves of the sixteenth century we are dealing with the very aristocrats of the profession. Circumstances over which they had no control flung the Moslem population of Southern Spain on to the shores of Northern Africa: to revenge themselves upon the Christian foe by whom this expropriation had been accomplished was natural to a warrior race; and those who heretofore had been land folk pure and simple took to piracy as a means of livelihood. It is of the deeds of these men that this book treats; of their marvellous triumphs, of their apparently hopeless defeats, of the manner in which they audaciously maintained themselves against the principalities and the powers of Christendom always hungering for their destruction.

The quality which Napoleon is said to have ascribed to the British Infantry, "of never knowing when they were beaten," seems to have also characterised the Sea wolves; as witness the marvellous recuperation of Kheyr ed Din Barbarossa when expelled from Tunis by Charles V.; and the escape of Dragut from the island of Jerba when apparently hopelessly trapped by the Genoese admiral, Andrea Doria. All through their history the leaders of the Sea wolves show the resourcefulness of the real seamen that they had become by force of circumstances, and it was they who in the age in which they dwelt showed what sea power really meant. Sailing through the Mediterranean on my way to Malta in the spring of this year, as the good ship fared onwards I passed in succession all those lurking places from which the Moslem Corsairs were wont to burst out upon their prey. Truly it seemed as if

"The spirits of their fathers might start from every wave,"

and in imagination one pictured the rush of the pirate galley, with its naked slaves straining at the oar of their taskmasters, its fierce, reckless, beturbaned crew clustered on the "rambades" at the bow and stern. It might be that they would capture some hapless "round ship," a merchantman lumbering slowly along the coast; or again they might meet with a galley of the terrible Knights of St... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books