The Saladin Mutiny (Helen Creighton)

See also: The Saladin Mutiny (Kenneth Peacock)

And also: Saladin Mutiny (Fowke and Johnston)

Come all ye human countrymen
with pity lend an ear,
And hear my feeling story;
you can't but shed a tear;
I'm held in close confinement
and bound in irons strong,
Surrounded by stony granite walls
and sentenced to be hung.

Charles Augustus Anderson
is my right and proper name,
Since I have been in custody
I ne'er denied the same;
I came from decent parents
although I die in scorn,
And believe me now I much lament
that ever I was born.

It was my sad misfortune
that brought me to this place,
To die an ignominious death,
my parents to disgrace;
With sorrow when I parted them,
their hearts were pierced thro',
Their sorrows were not worn away
before they will renew.

My father was a shipwright,
I might have been the same,
He taught me good examples,
to him I leave no blame;
Likewise my tender mother,
who for me suffered sore,
When she hears this sad announcement
I'm sure she'll suffer more.

O, Dear and loving Mother,
if I could but see your face,
I'd kiss thy lips of tenderness,
and take my last embrace;
I'd bathe you in my tears of grief
before my final hour,
I'd then submit myself to God,
to His holy will and power.

Brothers and sisters all adieu,
who are near and dear to me,
So far beyond the ocean,
whose faces I ne'er shall see;
The happy days I spent with you
on my native shore,
Farewell, sweet Udavilla,
I will never see you more.

Ah, if I could recall my days again,
how happy I would be,
To live at home amongst my friends,
in love and unity;
When I think of former innocence,
and those I left behind,
'Tis God and only Him that knows
the horrors of my mind.

No books of consolation
are here that I can read,
I profess the Church of England,
by nation I'm a Swede;
Those words that are addressed to me,
I can't well understand,
I must die like a heathen here
in a foreign land.

It's near the town of Gottenborg
where I was bred and born,
Here in the city of Halifax
I end my life in scorn;
Pity my misfortunes
and a warning take from me,
Shun all evil company
and beware of mutiny.

Since I left my tender parents,
it's but a few years ago,
Of the dreadful fate that awaits me,
it's little I did know;
I got into bad company
who have seduced me,
For to become a murderer
and a pirate on the sea.

I shipped on board the Saladin,
as you may understand,
She was bound to Valparaiso,
MacKenzie had command;
We arrived there in safety
without the least dismay,
When Fielding came on board of us,
curse on that fatal day.

'Twas him that seduced us
to do that horrid crime,
Though we might have prevented it
if we had thought in time;
We shed the blood of innocence,
the same we don't deny,
And stained our hands in human blood,
for which we have to die.

Oh, God, I fear Your vengeance,
and judgment much I dread,
To stand before Your judgment-seat
with my hands imbued in blood;
I deserve Your indignation,
but Your pardon still I crave,
Oh, Lord, have mercy on my soul
beyond the gloomy grave.

The sheriff and his officers
all came to him in gaol,
He knew their awful message well
but never seemed to fail;
They placed the fatal halter on,
to end all shame and strife,
With his own hands he greased the cord
that cut the thread of life.

He was led to the gallows
and placed on that awful stand,
He viewed the briny ocean
and then the pleasant land;
The rope adjusted through the ring
which quickly stopped his breath,
So ended his career
in the violent jaws of death.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a North American ballad, George Augustus Anderson [Laws D19] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####
Collected from Miss Germaine at the Fraser Nursing Home, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, by Helen Creighton [1899-1989] and published in Maritime Folk Songs (Ryerson Press, Toronto, ON, 1962).

A different ballad written from the perspective of another mutineer, George Jones, was collected by Edith Fulton Fowke (Literary Edtor) and Richard Johnston (Music Editor) and published as Saladin Mutiny in Folk Songs Of Canada (Waterloo Music Company, Waterloo, Ontario, 1954).

A variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Mrs Thomas (Annie) Walters [1896-1986] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published as The Saladin Mutiny in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.867-868, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A true incident which happened in 1843. Kenneth Peacock noted that both this ballad and the Charles Augustus Anderson variant tell the story of the mutiny aboard the English barque Saladin captained by Sandy MacKenzie, the soft-hearted skipper who took pity on a Mr Fielding and his son in Valparaiso, Chile, where they were stranded without funds. The Fieldings led a mutiny with the purpose of seizing money from the ship's strong-box and later planned to abandon her off the coast of Newfoundland. The sailors, in turn, mutinied against the Fieldings and threw them overboard. The original plan of abandonment was carried forward, but without a skilled navigator the ship ran aground on the rocky shore of Guysborough County in Nova Scotia. The survivors finally confessed the whole bloody story, and the ringleaders were hanged in Halifax on July 30, 1844.


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