|The First Captain Kirke and "Scottie"|
|And the First English Occupation of Quebec|
|In 1623, King James I, granted authority to Sir William Alexander to colonize the former Port Royal that had been burned to the ground by Samuel Argall ten years earlier, and claimed by him for the British throne. However, from the beginning, the local people with a handful of French who had remained in the area, made life miserable for the few colonists, until in desperation, the king dispatched an expedition against the French in Canada. He chose the Kirke brothers, David, Lewis and Thomas, to take command, and in 1628, they defeated the French forces, plundering all French settlements along the St. Lawrence except Quebec, which they believed would be heavily guarded.
They were able to acquire valuable booty, which as privateers they could keep, or at least a large portion of it, but more importantly, they were able to capture some high profile people, including Claude de La Tour, Father of the infamous Charles.
|They returned the following year, forcing the surrender of Champlain who was taken prisoner, and paving the way for English occupation.
It would turn out to be in vain though, when King Charles made peace with France, after his brother-in-law, Louis XIII paid his wife's dowry.
David Kirke, the leader of the expedition, was knighted in 1633.
The National Museum of Canada has recently acquired a lost ballad that tells the tales of the Kirke brothers, entitled England's Honour Revived.
|By the valiant exploytes of Captaine Kirke, and his adherents, who with three Ships, viz. the Abigaile Admirall, the Charitie vice Admirall, and the Elizabeth the reare Admirall: did many admirable exploytes; as is exactly showne in the iusuing story. To the Tune of King Henries going to Bulloyne.|
|England's Honour Revived|
|Brave Souldiers of this island,
That fight by Sea, or by Land,
Attention give unto this gallant newes:
Which commeth to revive our hearts
Lately dul'd; to feele the smarts,
Of those true Christians whom our foes misuse.
Three Ships that lancht forth lately,
(Vessels tall and stately,)
Under the command of brave Captaine Kirke.
Hath had such auspitious chance,
Against our vaunting foes of France,
That all true English may applaude this worke.
Upon the second day of May,
One the coast of Canaday,
Our English vessels safely did arive;
And tooke a Ship of Biskany
Which did in the Harbour lie,
That by the trade of Fishing sought to thrive.
A Frenchman in her company,
They surprised valiantly,
And after that a vessel call'd the Post:
Our Englishmen in fight subdude,
Thus their good fortunes they persude,
And vext their Enemies on their owne coast.
I cannot tell you truely,
What past twixt then and July,
But in that month upon the thirteenth day:
Foure mighty and tall French Ships of Warre,
Came supposing us to scarre,
And so they did the cleane contrary way.
Sure never any mortall wight,
Beheld a fiercer Sea-fight,
Then was betweene those foure French Ships and ours:
They for full ten howers space,
Strove for Victory apace,
On either side the Sea men shewde their powers.
At last (by Heavens assistance,)
After this long resistance,
Our English over came the French in fight:
And like brave Conquerors did surprise,
Both Ships and goods, in warlike wise,
Thus did they coole the Frenchmens courage quite.
And yet the (Lord be thanked,)
In all this bloody banquet,
Wherein so many Frenchmen were struke dead:
Not any one oth' English side,
In the furious Battell dyde,
This is a thing that may be Chronicled.
Neither was any of our men,
In the Skirmish wounded then,
But onely one who was a Trumpeter:
And he as I doe understand,
Was with a Bullet shot ith' hand,
Gods power then let's before our owne preferre.
For had not he us aided,
I needes must be perswaded,
We had not beene so merveilously saved:
As not one Englishman to dye,
In gaining such a Victory,
That may for after ages be ingraved.
The second Part:
To prosecute my story,
Unto those Sea-mens glory,
According to the truth of what befell:
I must proceed to the next day,
Where on the coast of Canaday,
Another shippe our English then did quell,
This shippe with Fish was laden well,
Which to Sea-mens shares then fell:
And after that in August 'twas their chance,
About Saint Peters Iland then,
To try their valour once agen:
They met and fought with five more ships of France.
Among those shippes then by Gods helpe,
Was one that's cald the Lyons Whelpe,
Which shippe belongd to Queen Elizabeth,
From us twas taken in those dayes
By the French: yet now she stayes,
lth English power to fight for the true Faith.
And in the Elizabeth of Diepe,
Which was the Admirall of the Fleete:
The Governour oth Ilands sonne was there.
Who was in France I understand,
To learne the language of the land,
And now he's come to learne some English here,
He's a brave and proper Prince,
And lives in London ever since,
Where many people see him every day
For oft he walkes in the Exchange,
To see our customes to him strange,
By some he's cald the Prince of Canaday.
This Iland as it well appeares,
Hath bin almost this twenty yeeres
possessed by the French; but this invasion
Hath frustrated their hopes almost,
All their providings quite are crost
They are like I thinke to leave off that Plantation.
For these three shippes of England,
Comming thither in Spring: and
Increasing still their number by their might,
Have ransackt burnt and spoyled all:
That into their hands did fall,
Which hath disfurnisht them of victuall quite.
Forthwith it is declared,
That those French shippes cari'd,
Provision full enough to serve three yeeres
And for the preservation,
Of that hopefull new Plantation,
Where they made account as well appeares.
But now all is surprised
As it is surmised
That if more land-men had bin in our Fleet
The Iland had bin overrun,
And for the King of England woon,
It may be that ere long we so may see't,
Just threesc[o]re Bullockes fat and faire,
By our English burned were,
Which was a pitious object to behold,
But twas farre better to doe so
Then to have left them for our foe
For we had more then carry well we could.
Thus our valient Captaine Kirk,
Did the French men soundly jerk,
And pur[ch]ast honour unto h's native land
Oh had we many like to him,
Then England would in credit swim,
And France nor Spaine could not against us stand.
Our gracious King and Queene God save,
With all the Privy Counsell grave,
And send reliefe to Rochel in distresse,
Oh now when earthly meanes doth faile,
Let Heavenly power at last prevaile,
Amen, cry all that doe true Faith professe.
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