Thursday, April 12, 2012

Battle of the Saintes

April 12th, 1782 saw English Admiral George Rodney defeat a French fleet under the command of Comte de Grasse in the West Indies.  As published in Chambers’ “Book of Days”, fighting began about seven AM.  The French had fewer ships, but larger and more powerful.  The battle took nearly half a day, ending with an English victory that was a blow to French naval power in the region.  It also saved Jamaica from French invasion.

Admiral Rodney figures in the development of Walter Scott’s “The Pirate”, if the quote from Scott’s friend Will Clerk is accurate.  The quote is found in John Gibson Lockhart’s “Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott”.

‘When, many years afterwards, Clerk read The Pirate, he was startled by the resurrection of a hundred traits of the tabletalk of this lugger; but the author has since traced some of the most striking passages in that novel to his recollection of the almost childish period when he hung on his own brother Robert’s stories about Rodney’s battles and the haunted keys of the West Indies.’

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