Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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xlvi         SONGS AND BALLADS
convoy when he sighted the French ship, which was superior in force to his own. The enemy
' Twenty odd guns on either side hauled out, Seamen and soldiers full four hundred [stout]. The Rose a fifth-rate, not full thirty guns, Six score brave lads, burthen three hundred tuns.'
George was killed by a ball from the Frenchman's maintop, but David Condon, his lieutenant, carried on the fight (assisted by that ' gallant spark,' Captain Ben Clark of Wapping, ' in the European of London, a mast ship,' which carried ten guns), and beat off the assailant. When New England rose against the government of Sir Edmund Andros in April 1689, George had been made a prisoner, but was released by order of the King, though much distrusted by the supporters of the revolution. One reason for publishing the relation was that the base Bostonians, 'cursed sons of Cham,' said that the captain had betrayed his convoy (see Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1690-1, p. 376; id. America and West Indies, 1689-92, pp. 66, 121, 269 ; Charnock, Biographia Navalis, ii. 98, 308).
In 1691 Admiral Russell was in command of the fleet in the Channel, but though he cruised from May to September, achieved nothing (Burchett, pp. 63-91). A satirical ballad, ironically entitled England's Triumph at Sea, probably by the same author as Torringtonia, hints that ' the cherry-cheeked Russell' was very careful not to meet with his foes (p. 112). Two regiments of marines had been raised in April 1690, and served in the fleet, and the first allusion ballads make to this branch of service is contained in the following lines :
* We had sea colonels o' th' nature of otter,
Which either might serve by land or by water,
Though of what they have done we hear no great matter.'