Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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INTRODUCTION             lxxvii
an operatic sketch entitled Spanish Dollars, which was produced in April 1805.
Another ballad dealing with a similar subject is The Princess Royals Escape from the Goodwin Sands, written by a sailor on board the ship, and describing a storm which took place in February 1744 (p. 190). Two others deal with the loss of Sir John Balchen and the Victory, a first-rate carry­ing 108 guns, wrecked on the Caskets on October 4, 1744. About a thousand men perished with Balchen
(pp. 192-94)-
The War of the Austrian Succession closed with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in October 1748.
The Seven Years' War commenced in America and India, and spread to Europe. War between France and England was not declared till May 18, 1756, though on June 8, 1755, Boscawen's fleet captured two French men of war, the Alcide and the Lys, off Newfoundland. As early as February 1755 there was 'a hot press' for seamen, and in July Hawke was sent to sea with eighteen ships to intercept the French fleet under Du Guay, and to make reprisals upon French commerce. The story of The Lighterman s Prentice relates to this cruise (p. 201). Nearly 300 French merchantmen and about 8,000 seamen were captured before the end of 1755 (Entick, History of the Late War i. 137, 187). Britain's Resolution to fight the French also refers to these captures, but the exultation they caused lasted but a short time (p. 203). Byng's action with La Galissoniere on May 20 and the capture of Port Mahon which followed on June 29, dashed all these hopes, and popular feeling demanded that the admiral's misconduct should be punished with death. Every scribbler wrote poems and epigrams against him, and political hostility to the Government swelled the cry.