[From Manx Soc vol XXI]

CAPTAIN THUROT.- A MEMOIR.

ONE important incident in the history of Manx affairs during the middle of last century was the memorable naval action, off Bishop's Court, between Captain Elliot and Thurot, and as this has been made the subject of song, some account of Thurot will not be out of place in this collection, more particularly as during his early career the Isle of Man had for a short period been his place of residence.

In a scarce pamphlet, entitled Genuine and Curious Memoirs of the Famous Captain Thurot, London, 1760, written by the Rev. John Francis Durand, who was long personally acquainted with him, we find it recorded that Francois Thurot was born at Boulogne, in France (the French Biographical Dictionary says he was born at Nuits, in Burgundy, in 1727), his father and mother being both natives of the same place. He was of Irish extraction, his grandfather, whose name was Farrel, and was a captain in the Irish army under King James II., going off with that prince from Ireland, and during his residence at St. Germains married Mademoiselle Thurot, a lady of some family distinction, by whom he had one son, whose parents dying during his infancy, he was taken by his mother's relations, brought up by them, and went by their name. He was bred to the law, and married a Mlle. le Picard who died in giving birth to the subject of this memoir. Madame Tallard, a lady of great rank and fortune, was young Thurot's godmother, from whom he received many instances of friendship, and was instrumental in his ultimate promotion in the French navy.

When young Thurot was about fifteen years of age, one Farrel, an Irish smuggler, came to Boulogne and claimed relationship with the elder Thurot, and assured him that the house of the O'Farrels was still a flourishing house in Connaught, and offered, if he would let his young son go over with him, to make his fortune. This proposal was accepted, and young Thurot was equipped at the expense of his Irish cousin, set sail for Limerick, but stopped at the Isle of Man upon some business of the smuggler's. Here young Thurot, taking some disgust, refused to follow Captain Farrel any farther. Here he entered into the service of a Welsh smuggler, in whose employment he remained some time, running goods betwixt the Isle of Man, Anglesey, and Ireland. It was here Thurot acquired a knowledge of the English language, and imbibed that spirit of daring, combined with his natural great courage and love of adventure, as well as that skill in a seafaring life, which subsequently distinguished his character. He was entrusted with affairs of the greatest consequence to his employer, and was at one time stationed at Carlingford for near twelve months. From this he proceeded to Dublin, and afterwards to Scotland, engaged in similar transactions, which gave him that knowledge of the coasts which he made use of in his after career. He proceeded to London, where he spent a great part of his time from 1748 to 1752, going continually between France and England.

The hazardous life he had taken up at length brought him to a prison in Dunkirk in 1754. Having good friends, who interceded in his behalf, he was removed to Paris ; and while undergoing some examinations, he convinced some people in power that should the war break out with England, which was at that time contriving (1755), he might be able to render considerable service from his knowledge of the various English and Irish channels and his perfect command of the language. He was accordingly entrusted with the command of one of the King's sloops.

In 1759, when the French ministry determined to invade England, various arrangements were made, and a large body of troops were assembled, under the command of the Duke d'Aiguillon, and the transport of these was to have been protected by a formidable fleet of ships of war, commanded by M. de Conflans, who was defeated in a general action on the 20th November by Admiral Hawke.

Thurot was appointed to the command of a small squadron fitting out at Dunkirk to make occasional descents on the Irish coast, for the purpose of distracting the attention of the English Government, and by dividing the troops facilitate the proposed invasion. This squadron consisted of

 

Commanders.

Guns.

Sailors.

Soldiers.

Le Marechal Belleisle

M. Thurot

48

200

400

La Blond

Capt. La Kayee

36

200

400

Terpsichore

Capt. Dessauaudais

24

60

70

Begon

-

36

200

400

Amaranthe

-

24

40

100

Two Cutters as Tenders, one pierced for 10 and the other for 8 guns.

The troops consisted. of volunteer drafts from regular regiments, and were composed of

French Guards

Le Comte Do Kersalls, Commandant.

 

M. de Covenae, Colonel.

Swiss Guards

Cassailas,

Regiment of Burgundy

De Roussilly,

Regiment of Camkise Freclican,

 

Hussars

Le Compte de Skerdeck, Colonel.

Volontaires Etrangers.

 

With his squadron Captain Thurot sailed out of Dunkirk on the night of the 15th of October, evading the eye of Commodore Boy,;, who was watching that port, and arrived at Gottenburgh on the 26th ; and after procuring supplies of provisions and other stores there, put to sea on the 14th November. A strong gale dispersed Thurot's squadron in the night between the 15th and 16th, and four of his vessels only joined company the next day. The Begon returned to Dunkirk much damaged. On the 17th, his squadron anchored at Bergen, in Norway, where they remained until the 5th December, when they weighed and steered northward. After beating about for a length of time, their provisions became short, when a general council was called on the 1st January, at which it was resolved that each man's allowance should be reduced to ten ounces of biscuit and half a septier of wine or spirits per day. On the 16th February, off the coast of Islay, some provisions and cattle were obtained. The Belleisle had been seriously strained by the stormy weather, and was so leaky that two pumps were constantly kept going. The Amaranthe, having separated from Thurot's squadron on the 12th February, got back to France by the west of Ireland, and reached St. Malo on the 25th of that month, which port her crew entered, almost dead with fatigue, hunger, and thirst.

On the morning of Thursday the 21st February, Thurot's squadron, reduced to three frigates, appeared off the island of Magee, standing in shore for the Bay of Carrickfergus, when on landing, they attacked the garrison, who surrendered on the following morning. In this encounter about 50 of the French were killed. After getting provisions and fresh water on board, the troops embarked, and put to sea on Tuesday the 26th.

Captain Elliot, who commanded three frigates at Kinsale, hearing of Thurot's exploit in the north, set sail in quest at four in the morning of Thursday ..sight of Thurot's ship, and gave graphtic account of what took place is best learnt from the logs of these vessels, as follows :-"H.M.S. AEolus. Wednesday 27th February 1760. Wind W.K.W. and N.W. Strong gales and squally.

28th, wind N. by W., N.N.W., N. by E., N.N.E.

Aire Point, Isle of Man. S.S.E. ~ E., distance 2 miles. First part, strong gales and squally ; latter, moderate and clear weather. Wore ship several tirhies, by reason of the narrowness of the channel. At 8 pni., Mull of Galloway, E. by N., 7 miles ; at 12, Copland light, N.W. 1 N., 4 leagues ; at 3 a.m., discovered 3 sails to windward

cleared ship and gave chase ; at 6, discovered the chase to be the enemy's, fired two chase-guns, which they returned ; ,it half-past 6 got close alongside the largest of the enemy and engaged, and soon after the action became general, and continued about an hour and a half, when our antagonist struck her colours, as did the other two soon follow her example. They proved to be the 'Marshall Bellisle,' Mons. Thurott, Commander, the 'La Blond,' and ' Terpsichore.' (Beilisle, lockt with the ~ M. Bellisle'), was obliged to let go our small Br. anchor, to clear us, slipt the cable, and bore away for Ramsey Bay, in the Isle of Man, to refit the ships, which were all greatly disabled in the action. We had 4 men killed, and 15 men wounded ; the enemy about 300 killed and wounded ; amongst the first was Mons. Thurott, Commodore, with several officers of distinction.

" Friday 29. Wind N.E. Moored in Ramsey Bay. Light breezes, and cloudy. At 3 p.m. anchored in Ramsey Bay. Bt. Br., and moored a cable each way. It was with great difficulty we kept the ' M. Bellisle' from sinking, she having six foot in the hold. A. M. employed repairing our riging etc.

Saturday, March 1., N.W., moored in Ramsey Bay ; ditto weather; sailed the 'Pallas,' with five hundred prisoners for Belfast ; employed fishing, the masts being all wounded."

The log of the Brilliant," Captain James Loggie, represents that vessel to be, on the 28th February, distant three miles from the Point of Air, in the Isle of Man, S.E. 1 S. at 8, when the enemy struck, the point bearing S.E. by S., distant 7 or 8 miles. A lieutenant and 30 men were put on board ' La Blonde' prize ; and the ' Pallas' is recorded to have sailed on the lst for Ireland, with 550 prisoners."

The log of the " Pallas," Captain Michael Clements, states that vessel to be, on " the 28th February 1760, with the Point of Air, on the Isle of Man, S.E. by E., distant two miles.

" First part, fresh gales and squally; middle and latter, moderate and fair. At 3 p.in. unbent the mainsail, and bent another ; at 4 a.m. saw three strange ships on our weather-bow, bearing down apon us. Cleared ship, and gave them chase. They hauled their wind for the Mull of Galloway, then bore away right before it ; at daylight were almost within gun-shot ; out 3d and 2d reefs of the top-sails, got up top-gallant yards ; quarter-past 6 the 'Aolus' made the signal for engaging. They proved to be the ' Marshall Bellisle,' ' La Blond,' and 'La Terpsichore,' French frigates. Half-past 6 began to engage, and at 8 they struck. During the engagement had one man killed and two wounded, our sails and rigging very much damiged, one shot through our mainniast, and our best bower anchor shot away. When they struck, the Point of Air, on the Isle of Man, bore SE., distant 3 or 4 miles. At 9, the 'Aolus' made the signal to anchor, and bore away for Ramsey Bay. Sent our first lieutenant, a mate, and nineteen men, on board the ' Terpsichore' At noon, the Point of Air, S.E. by E., distance 2 miles, the Commodore made our signal to stay by the Bellisle,' she having made the signal of distress."

Captain Elliot, in his letter to the Admiralty, dated Ramsey, 29th February 1760, detailed these particulars, and stated that all the ships 44 are much disabled in their masts and rigging, the 'Marshal Bellisle' in particular, who lost her boltsprit, mizen-mast and main-yard in the action." and gave the number of killed and wounded, Viz-

Eolus; 32 guns, 4 killed, 15 wounded.
Pallas; 36 1 5
'Brilliant,' 36 0 11

CaptainThurot behaved with the greatest bravery imaginable; having lost one of his arms near an hour, he rejected the proposal of some of his officers to surrender, and when told that the water was fast rising through a hole pierced by a ball from the "AEolus ' " said, "Never mind it, go on," which was no sooner pronounced than he fell by a grape-shot through his breast. At this juncture Lieutenant Forbes, of the AEolus,' perceiving the ' Bellisle's' deck pretty clear of men, most of whom were below in great confusion, jumped into her, with about twenty-five sailors, struck the colours with his own hand, and found Thurot's men preparing to throw their commander overboard.

Thus fell the brave Thurot, universally lamented by all who knew him, who, even whilst he commanded a privateer, fought less for plunder than honour ; whose behaviour was on all occasions full of humanity and generosity ; and whose undaunted courage raised him to rank and merited distinction. His death secured the glory he always sought, he did not live to be brought a prisoner into England.

Mr. Durand, in his Memoirs, states that Thurot's body was taken on shore and embalmed, after which he was buried with military 'honours. This statement cannot be correct, for we find, on referring to Bishop Hildesley's letter to Dr. Monsey, in Butter's Memoirs of Mark Hildesley, p. 389, he states, "They might as well also have given the bishop the honour of having preached his funeral sermon, as he did preach at Ramsey the very day on which Thurot might be supposed to have been buried there."

That the body was committed to the deep is farther proved by the following interesting statement, published in Train's History of the Isle of Man, 1845, vol. ii. p. 327. The particulars were communicated by the Rev. James Black, minister of the parish of Penningham, in Wigtonshire, who witnessed the engauement, and who followed Thurot's funeral to the churchyard of Kirkmaiden, a small cemetery hard by the margin of the sea.

"Every consecutive tide, for two or three days after the action, cast a number of dead bodies ashore on the coast of Galloway. Among the last thus thrown up by the influx of the sea, was that of the French commander, whose remains were easily distinguished from the others by the silk velvet carpet in which they were sewed up. Some historians say he was thrown overboard by mistake ; but from the circumstance of his having been thus sewed up in his cabin carpet, 1 think that unlikely. It appeared that he 'had been attired in his full dress of Commodore when the engagement commenced, as his remains were clothed with all the insignia of his rank as a naval officer. He was identified most particularly by marks on his linen, and by a silver tobacco-box, with his name in full engraved on the lid. The remains of this gallant young seaman were removed from the beach to the house of a person in the vicinity, who, acting under the direction of Sir William Maxwell of Monreith, the lord of the manor, invited every respectable person in that quarter to the funeral. Sir William himself acted as chief mourner, and laid the head of that distinguished individual in the grave.

"The carpet in which the corpse was found was for a long time kept at Monreith House, and my informant supposes it to be there still. The tobacco-box was presented, by Sir William Maxwell, to the victorious Elliot, in whose family it is yet, perhaps, an heirloom. Thurot's watch, which fell into the hands of one of Sir William's domestics, is now in the possession of a person in Castle-Douglas."

Thurot was about 36 years of age, and Mr. Durand says, " he was rather robust than genteel, and he was rather comely than handsome, very brown, and extremely florid, and had a very small scar under his left eye, which was rather an advantage to him than otherwise." He is also described as of a low stature, well made, and having lively black eyes ; of a frank humour and affable disposition.

He lies in a remote churchyard, without a stone to record his name, or even to point out the exact spot where his remains were interred his actions alone are his monument.

It may be mentioned that Bishop Hildesley and his family witnessed the action from Bishop's Court, and that the bowsprit of the "Bellisle," two yards in circumference, which was struck off during the engagement, and came on shore not far from where he was standing, he set up on a small eminence, in the glen leading up from his palace, which he named "Mount AEolus," in commemoration of the victory ; the mount still remains, but the frail memorial of Thurot has long ago passed away.

The trade of Liverpool was ruinously interfered with by French privateers, who hovered between the mouth of the Mersey and the Isle of Man. In a Liverpool paper, under date 8th September 1758, we find the first notice of Captain Thurot, as follows It is reported that the brig 'Truelove,' of Lancaster, and the brig 'Jane,' of Lancaster, had been taken off Lough Swilly by the "'Marshall Belleisle ' privateer, of St. Maloes, of thirty 12-pounders on one deck, eight 6-pounders on the quarter-deck, four on the forecastle, and four 18-pounders below. Captain Thurot, commander."

From a list, published in July 1760, it appears that in four years, ending at that date, there had been taken 'by the French, of vessels belonging to Liverpool alone, 143, principally engaged in the West Indian and American trades.

A print, 24 inches by 15, was made from a painting by Wright, representing the ships in Ramsey Bay, as they appeared immediately after the battle, dedicated to the merchants of Liverpool, and which may still occasionally be met with in the island.

Having, some years since, met with an aged person who had witnessed this action in his early days, and was proud of relating the fact, I was induced to enter more fully into Thurot's eventful life than might otherwise have done, when only recording the songs composed respecting him.

The following is from Popular Songs, illustrative of the French Invasions of Ireland, edited by T. Crofton Croker, and printed for the Percy Society, 1846, as well as many of the facts recorded in the foregoing memoir.

THUROT'S DREAM.

IT is said that Colonel Cavenae informed John Wesley that Thurot, after sailing from Carrickfergus, had a presentiment of his death in consequence of a dream, which Wesley has preserved in his journal, 5th May 1760 :-" The next morning as he (Thurot) was walking the deck, he frequently started without any visible cause, stopped short, and said, "shall die to-day.'"

I.

The twenty-first of February, as I've heard the people say,
Three French ships of war came and anchored in our bay;
They hoisted English colours, and landed at Kilroot,
And marched their men for Carrick without further dispute.

II.

Colonel Jennings being there, at that pretty town,
His heart it was a-breaking, while the enemy came down.
He could not defend it for the want of powder and ball,
And aloud to his enemies for " quarter" did he call.

III.

As Thurot in his cabin lay, he dreamed a dream,
That his grandsire's voice came to him and called him by his name;
Saying, Thurot, you're to blame for lying so long here,
For the English will be in this night, the wind it bloweth fair.

IV.

Then Thurot started up, and said unto his men,
Weigh your anchors, my brave lads, and let us begone
We'll go off this very night, make all the haste you can,
And We'll,-South and south-east, straight for the Isle of Man."

V.

Upon the next day the wind it blew north-west,
And Elliot's gallant seamen, they sorely were oppressed;
They could not get in that night, the wind it blew so high,
And as for Monsieur Thurot, he was forced for to lie by.

VI.

Early the next morning, as daylight did appear,
Brave Elliot he espied them, which gave to him great cheer;
It gave to him great cheer, and he to his men did say,
Boys, yonder's Monsieur Thurot, we'll show him warm play."

VII.

The first ship that came up was the Brilliant without doubt,
She gave to them a broadside, and then she wheeled about
The other two then followed her and fired another round '
Oh, ok, my lads," says Thurot, " this is not Carrick town."

VIII.

Then out cried Monsieur Thurot, with his visage pale and wan,
Strike, strike your colours, brave boys, or they'll sink us every man:
Their weighty shot conies in so hot, on both the weather and the lee;
Strike your colours, my brave boys, or they'll sink us in the sea."

IX.

Before they got their colours struck great slaughter was made,
And many a gallant Frenchman on Thurot's decks lay dead,
They came tumbling down the shrouds, upon his deck they lay,
While all our brave Irish heroes cut their boonis and yards away.

X.

And as for Monsieur Thurot, as I've heard people say,
He was taken up by Elliots men and buried in Ramsey Bay.

Xl.

Now for to conclude, and put an end unto my song,
To drink a health to Elliot, I hope it is not wrong;
And may all French invaders be served the same way.
Let the English beat the French by land, our Irish boys on sea.

 

BATTLE OF RAMSEY.

THUROT AND ELLIOT.

THis song was taken down as sung by a person in Baldwin in 1869, who stated that he had often heard his old father sing it, but did not know the author. How well the record of this battle has been retained in the memory of Manxmen for more than a century, shows the great interest that was taken in the career of Thurot, who no doubt at the time had many friends in the island who were well acquainted with his exploits.

It will be observed this is the same song as that given under the name of " Thurot's Dream," which was copied from the version given by Mr. Crofton Croker in the Popular Songs illustrative of the French Invasions of Ireland, Part II. (Percy Society, 1846), but which appears to be defective, wanting several verses now supplied in the present copy, which, from its greater regularity of detail, is most probably the original. The various readings are only the result of the oral transmission of the Song, a complete printed copy of which I have never seen. It has been considered advisable to print both versions.

I.

My very heart is broken for Carrickfergus town,
Such a fine situation as our enemy pulled down.
On the twenty-first of February, as I've heard people say,
Three French ships of war came and anchored in our bay.

II.

They hoisted up English colours, and landed at Kilroot
As for Carrickfergus there was a furthermore dispute ;
But brave Colonel Jennings gave them powder and ball, '
Till one hundred and three of these French dogs did fall.

III

So brave Colonel Jennings, at that very same space,
His heart was so broken for that beautiful place;
He could not defend it for want of powder and ball,
'Till aloud to his enemies for " quarter " he did call.

IV.

On the twenty-seventh of February the wind blew nor'-west,
These three gallant ships they were sorely oppres't ;
They could not get in that night, the wind it blew so high,
But brave Monsieur Thurot, he was forced to let by.

V.

Tliurot lay on his hammock, he dreamed a dream;
A voice came iinto him by night, and called him by name,
Saying, You are to be blamed, Thurot, for lying so long here;
The English will be down to-night, the wind it blows so fair.

VI.

Thurot jumps from his liammock, and unto his men did say,
Weigh up your anchor, brave boys, and let us be away ;
Take up your anchors, brave boys, make all the speed you can,
And we'll steer south-south-east, straight for the Isle of Man

VII

Early the next morning, when daylight did appear,
Elliot espied Thurot, and gave him a good cheer;
Elliot espied Thurot, and unto his men did say,
See, yonder's Monsieur Thurot ; we'll show him English play."

VIII.

Thurot takes out his spying-glass, and spied all around,
He spied three British heroes all steering, up and down,
He spied three British heroes all gathering in a swarm
Hurrah ! my boys-," says Thurot, " this place shall soon be warm."

IX.

Then out spoke Monsieur Thurot, without a fear or doubt,
Take in your hooks on board, boys, we never shall be took
Then cried out Captain Elliot, and "Be it not too fast,
Give him a gallant broadside, cut down his yards and mast."

X.

Then first came up the " Brilliant," without a fear or doubt,
And gave him a gallant broadside, which made him wheel about ;
Then come up the other two, which gave him fire round.
Oh, oh, my boys," says Elliot, " this is not Carrick town."

XI.

Then out spoke Monsieur Thurot, with colour pale and wan,
Strike down your colours, brave boys, or they'll sink us every one;
Their weight of shot comes in so hot, both windward, bow, and lee ;
Strike down your colours, brave boys, or they'll sink us in the sea."

XII.

Before they had their colours down, what a slaughter there was made,
And many a gallant Frenchman on Thurot's deck lay dead;
And as for Monsieur Thurot, as I've heard the people say,
He was carried away by Elliot's men and buried in Ramsey Bay.

XIII.

To which concludes my ditty unto this mournful song,
To drink a health to Captain Elliot, I hope it is not wrong;
And may all French invaders be served the same way-
If the Irish did not beat them on land, the English did at sea.

 

THUROT AS ELLIOT.

THE NAVAL BATTLE oF THUROT AND ELLIOT.

This account of the engagement between Admiral Thurot and Captain Elliot is here printed for the first time. The translation of the Manx has been made by Mr. John Quirk of Carn-ny-Grele, Kirk Patrick,, from the original MS. copy, which, with the assistance of the Rev. John Thomas Clarke, late chaplain of St. Marks, is considerably enlarged, and the whole rendered into a more correct historical fact.

I.

Ec balley veg Frangagh er dorrid ny bleeaney,
Flodd veg dy hiyn-chaggee reii geddyn so hiauihll
As chond's Yeagh Thurot kion-reiltagh e gheiney,
Cha bailloo ve orroo dy jinuagh ad coayl.

ii.

Sheer caggey no~n ree ain, gyn aggle ny nearey,
As roostey as spooilley yn ymmodee siyn;
Yn gheay ren ee sheidey er ardjyn ny Haarey
As gimman ad stiagh so reeriaght yn reeain.

in.

Eisht hie ad dy ghoaill Carrick-Fergus ayns nerin,
As myr v~d cheet stiagh ays ny voahaghyn ayn
Ard-chaptan y valley dooyrt rish e hidooryn,
Shane dooin ad y oltagh lesh bulladyn ghurn.

iv.

Ny-yeih ayns traa gherrit vdu phoodyr oe baatit,
Nagh voddagh ad shasoo as eddin chur daue ;
Eisht captan y valley dooyrt reesht rish e gheiney,
Nish shane dooin roie orroo lesh clinenyn ayns laue.

V.

Vdu stayd oc~ danjeyragh dy cronnal ry-akin
Eisht dooyrt eh roo, shaiie dooin cur seose hue ayns trat,
Son foddee mayd jerkal rish baase fegooish inygliin,
Neay-r's nagh vel shin abyl yn noid y hyndaa.

vi.

Myr shen haink ad stiagh ayns y valley laa-ny-vairagh
Dy yannoo myr baiuoo rish ooilley ny v'ayn ;
Mysh lieh-cheead dy Rangee va currit er feayraght,
Daag Thurot cheu-ehooylloo nyn lhie ayns y joan.

vii.

Tra va Carrick-veg-Fergus oe spoofflit dy bollac,,h,
Nagh chiare ad dy roshtyn yn Ellan shoh noain
Agh s'beg erree voesyn er quoi veagh nyn rohaiailtagh,
Yinnagh yn daanys oe ooilley dys kione.

viii.

She Elliot veeit ad rish ren orroo lhiggey,
As lesh eddin ghebejao,,h doad orroo aile.
Hug Thurot dy-chione lesh ooilley 'n voyrn echey,
As sheese beign da lhoobey er-boayrd yn Vellisle.

ix.

Tra haink ad dy-cheilley as gunnaghyn lhiggey,
As cronnagyn getlagh goll shiar as goll sheear.
Fuill frangagh myr ushtey dy palchey va deayrtey,
As 13e]leisle vooar y Thurot va tholl't myr y chreer.

X.

Ny Frangee myr eeastyn va searr' ter ny deekyn,
Tra hir ad son Thurot sud shifley cha groun ;
Agh v'eshyn, ny chadley ayns diunid ny marrey,
Cha lhiass daiie ve moyonagli ass Thurot iiy siiioo.

Slane sheh-feed. ayns coontey dy reih gunnaghyn Rangagh
Noi gunna,(,yhyn Elliot gueig-feed as kiare;
Three lonayn noi three ren ad caggey dy barbagh.
Er derrey hooar Thurot c voynyn 'syn aer.

xii.

Va oyr ec ny Frangee dy ghobberan dy sharroo,
Son yn obbyr va jeant ayns three lieh-yn oor;
Three-cheead reesht jeh'n cheshaght va lhottit ily marroo,
As dufsan dy cheeadyn goll stiagh 'sy thie-stoyr.

xiii.

Va gueig jeh ny Sosthynee inarroo mvrgeddin,
As 'nane-jeig-as-feed gortit 'sy chah ;
Agh shimmey v'er enennaahtyn guin yn laa cheddin
Er-bey dy ren Elliot cosney yn laa.

xiv.

Nagh dunnal yn dooinney va'n Offisher Forbes
Ghon cullyr lhong Thurot er-boayrd yn chied er;
As Thomson myrgeddin hie sheese ayns yn aarkey
Dy yeigh ny thuill-vaaish eck lesh barrao,,h as gierr.

xv.

Fir-vea,o~hee shenn Vannin v'er cheu heear yn Ellan,
Eer Aspick Vark Hildesley, as ooilley e hie;
Ren jeeaghyn dy tastagh as fakin as clashtyn,
Veih hoshiacyht dy yerrey yn caggey va clole.

xvl.

Croan-spreie yn Velleisle tra ve currit er shiaullay
Ve eiyrit as immanit stiaeh er y traie
Ve soit ec yn Aspick son cooinaght jeh'n chaggay,
Er ynnyd ard-chronnal er-,(,yerrey da e hie.

xvii.

Eisht mygeayrt Kione-ny-Haarey goll-rish deiney-seyrey,
Hug ad lhieu nyn gappee seose baiy Rumsaa;
Ec irree-ny-greiney ny Frangee va keayney,
Tra honnick ad Thurot vooar currit dys fea.

xviii.

Tra hoig shin ayns Mannin cre'n ghaue Ver n',-holl shaghey
As e'raad va iiy deiney Y'er reayll jin yn ghaue;
Ard phobble ny cheerey, eer mraane chammah's deiney,
Haink roue dy Yeeiteil ad dy oltaghey daue.

XIX.

Va geinsyn reih caarjyn cc theah as shiolteyryn
Va mooar j cant j ehn Cheshaght ren cur lesh y laa
As rieau neayr's hiauill Ree Illiam dys Nerin,
Cha ren lheid ny laaghyn soilshean er Rumsaa.

XX.

O sleih-cheerey as shiaulteyryn trojee scose arraneyn,
Ny Frangee, tad castit er dy chooilley hen;
Ta'n chaptan oe cadley ayns diunid ny niarrey
Ny lhig dane ve moyrnagh ass Thurot ny sinoo,

XXI.

Nish lhieen mayd yn veilley as in niayd dy cheilley,
Lesh Shee-dy-vea ghennal gys Georgee nyn Ree;
Son she ny siyn-chaggee ta shin oitoo shiaulley
Va'n saase dreill nyn noidyn Yeih By MANNINEE.

FROM the seaport of Dunkirk to cruise during winter,
A gallant French squadron did venture to go ;
And while the proud Thurot remained their commander,
They proudly disdained to submit to the foe.

II.

They foughtgainst our Sovereign with courage most daring,
And caused'mongst our shipping much damage and loss;
And during a gale which blew fresh o'er old Erin,
At length they succeeded in reaching our coast.

III

Then as they were nearing a spot on the borders,
1?en old Carrick-Fergus whose strength was but small,
The chief of the township reminded his soldiers
To have them saluted with cannon and ball.

IV.

And when they had spent the last grain of their powder,
And against the enemy they were unable to stand,
The gallant commander did issue his ordex,
To rush in upon them with cutlass in hand.

V.

Then as he observed a strong force put in motion,
He said, 'tis best to submit while we may,
Or death without mercy will soon be our portion,
Since we are unable to drive them away.

Next day into fair Carrickfergus they entered,
To do as they pleased with all they could find;
About fifty men of bold Thurot's adventurers,
Who lay stark and cold to the dust were consignd.

Vil.

When they left Carrickfergus completely ransacked,
Straight on for lone Mona the Frenchman did steer;
But who should salute them they little suspected,
To finish for ever their warlike career.

Vill.

Brave Elliot appeared with broadsides most glaring,
And with a bold front put an end to their toil;
Proud Thurot was caught at the height of his daring~
Who had to submit, the' on board the Bellisle.

ix.

When warmly engaged in this bloody action,
The French quickly fell'neath the thundering squalls
Their rigging was scattered in every direction,
And Thurot's Bellisle was riddled with balls.

X.

The French of all classes on deck lay in masses,
When there they sought Tliurot midst carnage and crore
But Thurot was sleeping below in the ocean
No Frenchman need boast of his courage any more.

XL

The guns of the French were a score and one hundred,
While Elliot's numbered one hundred and four;
Three ships against three contended and thundered
Until the Bellisle lost her great commodore.

xii.

One hour and a half put an end to their struggle,
When three hundred Frenchmen fell wounded or slain,
One thousand two hundred in sorrow and trouble,
As captives to prison were led o'er the main.

xiii.

Five men also fell on the side of the Eiiulish,
Wliilst thirty-one more were hurt more or less;
But keen liad we felt the sharp sting of anguish,
Had not the brave Elliot met with success.

xiv.

The Bellisle was taken by Lieutenant Forbes,
The first man who boarded and brought her flag low;
And saved by brave Thompson who dived in the ocean,
And stopped her death leakage with tallow and-tqw,

XV.

The people who dwelt on the west side of Mona,
E'en Bishop Mark Hildesley with all of his train,
Could hear the tough music as cannons were booming,
And much of their doings could plainly be seeil

xvi.

They saw the Bellisle when deprived of her bowsprit,
A log which soon reached the Bishop's domain,
To stand on an eminence commemorating
The day and its deeds, with all things that came.

xvii.

Then round Point of Ayre most gallantly leading,
They brought up their captives towards Ramsey Bay;
At day-light's returning poor Frenchmen were mourning,
To know their great Thurot was lifeless as clay.

XVIII.

When we understood what dangers had threatened,
And where were the men who averted the blow,
The head-men of Mona did hasten to meet them,
To greet and salute them as best they could do.

xix.

To the best of our means they were treated and honoured,
While Elliot's kindness still gladdened the place;
And ne'er since King William sail'd hence for old Erin
The good folk of Ramsey knew ought of such days.

xx.

O landsmen and sailors, do ye all sing in chorus,
The French are defeated behind and before;
And Commander Thurot laid low in the ocean,
No Frenchman need boast of his courage any more.

XXI.

And now the full bumper with joy and good feeling,
We'll drink to the health of our King and our Queen,
For the gallant vessels on which we are sailing
Were the means to keep Thurot from MANNIN-VEG-VEEN,

 

Translated by Mr. John Quirk, Carn ny Gre,ie, Kirkpatrick

 

EPITAPH ON M. THUROT.

From the Gentleman's Magazine for March 1760.

JOHN WESLEY, in his journal, May 1760, relates, on the information of Mrs. Cobham, while that lady was in attendance upon General Flaubert, after he had been wounded at the capture of Carrickfergus, " a little plain-dressed man came in, to whom they all showed a particular respect. It struck into her mind, 'is not this M. Thurot ?'which was soon confirmed." She said to him, " Sir, you seem much fatigued : will you step to my house and refresh yourself ? " He readily accepted the offer. She prepared a little veal, of which he ate moderately, and drank three glasses of small warm punch ; after which he told her- " I have not taken any food before for eight and forty hours." She asked him, " Sir, will you be pleased to take a little rest now ? " Observing he started, she added, "I will answer life for life, that none shall hurt you under my roof " He said, " Madam, I believe you, I accept the offer." He desired that two of his men might lie on the floor by the bedside, slept about six hours, and then, returning her many thanks, went aboard his ship.

Here lies the pirate, brave Thurot,
To merchants' wealth a dreadful foe
Who, weary of a robber's name
Aspired to gain a hero's fame:
But oft ambition soars too high,
Like learns when he strove to fly
In short, Thurot with ardour fill'd,
His breast with emulation swelled,
Abjuring Sweden's copper shore,
His course to fair Hibernia bore ;
There took some peasants unprepar'd,
So struck his blow, and disappeard ;
But luckless fate, which oft pursues us,
And when we least expect subdues us.
This scheme, how well soe'er concerted,
Into a dire mischance converted,
And made it prove, as we'll relate,
The sad forerunner of his fate
For AEolus brave Elliot led
Who early in ljis school was bred,
Cut short this champion's thread of life,
And with it clos'd the doubtful strife;
In which Bellisle, a name we own,
Anione,st ten thousand heroes known,
Of France, the wonder and the brag,
Again compell'd to drop the flag,*
Was forced such fortune to lament,
As erst her namesake underwent
But to return to him whose glory
Is now the subject of our story,
He was no wit, nor quite an ass,
But lov'd his bottle and his lass.+
You then good fellows passing by,
Afford the tribute of a sigh
His fate lament--enough we've said,
Thurot once lived-Thurot is dead.

*The Chevalier de Bellisle, brother to the Marshal, lost his life as he was endeavouring to fix the standard on the Sardinian entrenchments at Exilles, 1747.

+ M. Thurot's mistress, it is said, attended all his fortunes, and was on board the Bellisle when he was killed.


 

Back index next

 

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000