Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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INTRODUCTION                    xlv
Society in 1841, contains half a dozen ballads on military operations in Ireland under William III., but none on naval. But the Pepysian collection supplies a ballad on the capture of the Pelican frigate in Dublin Bay, under the eyes of ' Old James and his Teagues,' by Sir Clowdisley Shovell (see p. 107). This took place in April 1690, and the account of the exploit given is so detailed that it looks as if it were written by some one who served under Shovell (see Luttrell's Diary, ii. 35). Next month came a rumour that Admiral Henry Killigrew with a squadron in the Mediter­ranean had beaten the French fleet under Chateau Renault, sinking two ships and taking three (Luttrell's Diary, ii. 47, 57, 61). The rumour was untrue, for his attempt to bring them to an engage­ment was unsuccessful (Burchett, Transactions at Sea, pp. 37-43). Nevertheless the fictitious triumph was embodied in a ballad called The Seaman's Victory (see p. 108). On June 30, 1690, Torrington was worsted by de Tourville at Beachy Head. ' Both the admirals,' says Burnet, ' were equally blamed—ours for not fighting and the French for not pursuing,' Torrington was sent to 'the Tower, and accused by the popular voice of want of courage as well as of want of conduct. Of this feeling the ballad called Torringtonia, or a New Copy of Verses on the late Sea Engagement, is the expression (p. 110).
Another incident which occurred in the same month is related in an elegy, In the memory of the truly Loyal and Valiant Captain John George, late Commander of their Majesties Frigate the Rose, being a full and true ^Relation of a bloody Fight between the said Frigate and a French man-of-war to the eastward of Cape Sables on Saturday the 2\th of May, 1690. John George was in charge of a