Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

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

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borough, a hired vessel armed with twenty six-pounders. The capture of these two ships by-Jones is celebrated in Paul Jones the Pirate. This ballad was evidently written by an American or someone sympathising with the American cause. It was often reprinted in England, but the English versions are full of corruptions and blunders. Nevertheless, by comparison of the various verĀ­sions, it has proved possible to obtain a more intelligible text than that commonly given (p. 259). Several other ballads, including a Scottish one on the same subject, are reprinted in the Roxburgke Ballads, and with them a political song suggesting that Lord Sandwich and Lord North were in reality worse enemies to England than Jones {Roxburghe Ballads, viii. 330-35).
As the struggle was for America and the West Indian islands, most of the fleet engagements of the latter part of the war took place in American waters. On July 6, 1779, Vice-admiral John Byron, with Vice-admiral Samuel Barrington as his second in command, fought an action with the French fleet under D'Estaing off Grenada, and got very much the worst of the fight. A ballad on the battle, apparently written by someone on board the Royal Oak, expresses the view generally held in the fleet, that if Barrington had commanded instead of Byron the result would have been different (p. 258 ; cf. Clowes, iii. 434-40; Mahan, p. 367). The Bold Blades of Old England celebrates the capture of Omoa in October 1779, and concludes by a reference to Rodney's voyage to Gibraltar in December 1779 and his capture of a Spanish convoy about January 8, 1780 (p. 261 ; cf. Clowes, iii. 448 ; iv. 44). On January 16, 1780, Rodney defeated Langara off Cape St. Vincent, taking six Spanish ships of the line. Another, the Santo Domingo, was blown up