Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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INTRODUCTION             lxxix
Rochefort in September 1757. The navy did its part in capturing the isle of Aix; the ships could not get near enough to batter Rochefort, and the soldiers were never landed. Sir John Mordaunt, the commander of the troops, was acquitted by a court-martial. The New Song written on the Isle of Aix (p. 211) is apparently intended to represent the feelings of Hawke, who was vexed and in­dignant at the decision of the generals not to attempt a landing (Burrows, Life of Hawke, ed. 1896, p. 138).
The year 1758 was more fortunate, but neither Pocock's engagements in the East Indies nor the capture of Louisbourg are the subject of ballads which have reached us. Keppel's expedition against the French colonies in Africa attracted more atten­tion. One ballad, Bold Sawyer, relates the capture of Goree, which took place December 28, 1758 (Entick, iii. 271-8). While it gives the names of the ships engaged in the expedition correctly, it calls the captain of the Nassau Sawyer, though his name was James Sayer. Another ballad relates the fate of the Lichfield, Captain Barton, which ran ashore on the coast of Morocco on November 29, 1758 (p. 214). The crew were made slaves, and were not released till April 1760, when they were ransomed for 170,000 dollars by a special ambas­sador sent for the purpose (Duncan, The Mariners Chronicle, iii. 118-30).
The year 1759 was the great year of the war. On August 18 Boscawen defeated De la Clue, taking three ships of the line and destroying two. On November 20 Hawke beat Conflans in Quiberon Bay. Hawke's victory is the theme of a ballad apparently written by someone on board the flagship (p. 217). Nephcne's Resignation, a pretentious mythological poem ' written by Mr.