Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

3 Centuries Of Naval History In Shanties & Sea Songs With Lyrics & Notes

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INTRODUCTION                     xli
adding some hundreds of blows on their bare feet, forcing out the very blood, and sometimes on the back, sometimes on the belly, and sometimes on them all, insomuch that many are long decrepit, some for ever, and some dying under their hands.' -
The fate of these captive sailors is illustrated by a ballad published about 1684, called The Algiers Slave's Releasement, or the Unchangeable Boatswain (p. 88). Such captives were usually redeemed by the contributions of the charitable, under the authority of warrants known as ' briefs'. licensing collections in churches for the purpose. (W. A. Bewes, Church Briefs, pp. 193-206). Some were ransomed by the king himself, others recovered by treaty or recapĀ­tured. Squadrons under Allin, Spragge, Narbrough and other commanders were successively sent to the Mediterranean to coerce the pirate states. The Diary of Henry Teonge, who served as chaplain on various ships engaged in that service from 1675. to 1679, contains some account of Narbrough's proceedings against Tripoli, and throws a flood of light on the conditions of life in the navy during the reign of Charles II. It was published in 1825. Teonge's Diary contains a ballad on the destruction of a vessel belonging to Tripoli by the English frigate Assistance in 1675 (p- 63), besides other specimens of his muse, mainly of an amatory nature (pp. 73, 79, 168, 241, 259). Still more curious than Teonge's Diary is a long narrative poem describing a cruise in the Mediterranean, from May 1669 to April 1671, under Sir John Harman. It is called The Straights Voyage or St. David's Poem, was published in 1671, and was written by John Balthorpe, a clerk on board the St. David, Harman's flagship. It appears to have escaped altogether the notice of naval historians.
One of the heroes of this war was Captain Thomas Harman, sometimes said to be the son of