Friends and Enemies

A Poole brig, the David

A Poole brig, the David

On the 15th December 1812, as the Napoleonic war was raging, the 48-gun frigate HMS Briton captured the French privateer Sans Souci from St. Malo. As a consequence of this action, the following letter dated 8th February 1813 was sent to Poole and is now in the Poole archives:

To Joseph Tucker, late master of the Brig Douro of Poole from Pierre Mainville, Bridgnorth.

The privateer Sans Soucy of St. Maloes having been captured, I, Pierre Mainville the late first lieutenant on board of her, and the same officer with which you were used to sleep by, in the same cabin am now a prisoner of war in your country as I remember the assurance which you had the goodness to give me that you would make your best to be useful to me if ever I want you: I take the liberty to apply myself to you, begging your kindness to write to the honourable members of the Transport Board at London and to let them know how much you were well used during your stay on board the privateer Sans Soucy pleas to say to them, that, some days previous to your departure you return into your country; you had the misfortune to fall overboard and you should have almost certainly been drowned if Mr. Pierre Mainville first lieutenant on board Sans Soucy (and then officer of the watch) taking advice only of his feelings for one of his fellow creatures and of his intrepidity, had not threw himself, immediately overboard and succeeded to save you, ask them (as a reward for my behaviour towards one of their country-men) that I may be permitted to return in France on parole of not serving against Angland. A certificate attesting that I have saved you from death will be very useful to me, it is the reason for which I dare pray you to inclose one in your answer to me.

As I make no doubts you will employ either yourself or your friends in my favour and that you will succeed too: do depend upon me, that as soon as I am in my country I will recommend you and your friends (if you are pleased to send me their names) to the Captains and officers of privateers I am acquainted with I do promise you, that if you have either a relation of a friend prisoner in France, I will at my arrivel procure him his liberty.

I depend, dear Sir, upon your promises and your goodness to oblige a man who is a victim of wars; having spent the third part of my life (although 45 years old) in the prisons of Angland, during these two wars.

Signed: Pierre Mainville, on parole at Bridgnorth, Salop.

Captain Rosse compliments Captain Tucker and hope he will do everything in his power for my officer would be greatly obliged.

Whether Captain Tucker received the letter and acted upon it, we do not know. The war, of course ended with the battle of Waterloo 3 years later.



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