It was the 10th September, 1798. Napper Tandy was afloat, which he hated. She was a corvette. Her name was the Anacréon. What a name for a bloody ship-of-war, he thought. Whether she was named after a Greek composer of drinking and love songs or a French composer of operas, it was not a name for a war-ship.
She was fast, though, that he admitted. And well armed, this 100 ton corvette, with her fourteen four pounders and a pair of swivels, but her main protection was her speed. The fastest vessel in the Navy of France, they said, and with her yellow hull and new top masts she was any young officer’s dream command. But God, how she pitched. He clutched his hand to his mouth and made once more for the scuppers. What it was to be so old. He felt all of his 61 years today. After a while he felt sufficiently recovered to return to the ward-room, where he found Rey. General Rey. A real General this Rey, not a paper general like himself. Brigadier General Tandy! The thought amused him unreasonably, even though he understood the necessity. If he was caught he could claim to be a prisoner of war, and exchanged. Otherwise he could be condemned as a traitor, and hanged.
So opens the Story of Napper Tandy. He was born in Dublin around 1740, the son of an ironmonger. He was Secretary of the Dublin branch of the United Irishmen which with Wolfe Tone he helped found and whom he then went on to represent in America for five years after they were proscribed in 1792. He played a central part in the mismanaged French ‘invasion’ of Ireland in 1798. He was the lynchpin in the events which led to the Peace of Amiens between England and France in October, 1801. He was sentenced to death by the English, but never executed, a fact which may well have denied him the martyrdom and fame which came to others like Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmett. He was a Brigadier General in the French Republican Army, and received both salary and pension as such until the day he died, August 24th.,1803, in Bordeaux. His name was Napper Tandy.
About Brian Igoe
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Published December 25, 2013
by Brian Igoe.
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel.