Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Easter Hymns

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
A third disaster, the loss of the Edgar, seventy-gun ship, which blew up at Spithead on October 15, 1711 (Clowes iii. 529) is the subject of a dialogue in verse of which a copy is preserved amongst Douce's collections in the Bodleian Library. It is reprinted at p. 160.
Another incident of an entirely different charac­ter requires mention—that is, the execution of the traitor Captain Thomas Smith in 1708. Smith had been dismissed from his command and fined six months' pay in September 1703 for corruption, drunkenness and other crimes. In 1707 he entered the French service, and apparently acted as pilot to the squadron of French galleys which captured the Nightingale frigate off Harwich on August 24, 1707, after the very gallant fight which is described in the Memoirs 0/ Jacques de Marteilhe (ed. by H. Paumier, 1865, p. 169). Smith was given com­mand of the captured ship, but was taken during his first cruise by Captain Nicholas Haddock in the Ludlow Castle. He was then tried at the Old Bailey on June 2, 1708, found guilty of bearing arms against his country, and executed on June 18, 1708 (see the lives of Thomas Smith and Seth Jermy in the Dictionary of National Biography, and an article on The Captains of the Nightingale in the English Historical Review for January 1889). The Last Farewell of Captain Smith (p. 154) purports to be his dying speech.
During the first half of the eighteenth century a change in the character of the sea songs produced becomes gradually apparent. ' Songs intended to bring before shore-going listeners the ways of sea­men,' as Sir Cyprian Bridge describes them, had been produced during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but the output of them now greatly in­creased. They were designed not merely for the