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

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INTRODUCTION             lxxxix
Come haste away to the rendezvous, There's plenty of good peck and booze ; Askew is a seaman's friend, My boys, you'll find him in the end.
Chorus as before.
When the American war began, the British public expected a series of easy victories—at all events wherever the navy was engaged. The ballad called The Brags of Washington is an instance of this (p. 244). Consequently the repulse of the fleet under Sir Peter Parker, which attacked Charles­ton on June 28, 1776, was a disagreeable surprise. It is the theme of an English ballad, On the late Engagement in Charleston River, and of an American song parodying Parker's despatch (pp. 245-47; cf. Clowes, iii. 372). In February 1778 France con­cluded a defensive treaty with the United States, and in April hostilities between France and England began. The Cruisers celebrates the beginning of this stage of the war ; The Arethusa its first action, namely, the fight between that ship and the Belle Poule on June 17, 1778 (pp. 247-248). The song, according to Sir J. K. Laughton, ' sets truth and seamanship alike at defiance,' for the Arethusa fought well but was beaten, and would certainly have been taken or sunk if the approach of the English seventy-fours had not scared the Belle Poule away (Sea Eights and Adventures, p. 8). It is to be observed that the crew of the Belle Poule numbered 230 not 500 men, that she was not driven ashore, and that she was ultimately taken by the Nonsuch, 64 guns, in 1780 (Clowes, iv. 13, 99, 114). To the same date or to 1777 belongs a song On the brave Admiral Lockhart, printed in Logan's Pedlar s Pack (p. 77). Lockhart took the com-