Tth Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin




VII. 1758.

[Expedition against St. Malo, June 1758 - Note - Letter about Expedition to someone unknown - Return to England - Letter to Lord Lyttelton. ]

The next season he went a volunteer in the successful expedition against St. Malo, commanded by the late duke of Marlborough. After seventeen days sailing with contrary wind, they made Cancal Bay. In the afternoon, lord Howe silenced some old batteries on the top of the precipices, and the whole army landed. The next morning, the new-raised light horse, commanded by the glorious general Elliot, was ordered to march up to the town. Emin had no horse, and chose to be one of the party on foot: he walked thirteen miles at the head of the troops, and reached the suburbs of St. Malo just in the dusk of the evening. The troops set 133 ships large and small on fire upon the beach, where he did as well as he could to gain the good opinion of general Elliot. The late Sir John Armitage was more active than all the troops, setting the enemy’s magazine also on fire.


Extracts from "A Journal of the late Campaign against France. "

( British Museum E. 2050. )

P. 46. "On the 23rd of May the Duke of Marlborough arrived in camp as Commander-in-chief of the forces. Lord George Sackville was Second in Command and under these another Lieutenant General besides five Major Generals . . . . The embarkation of the baggage began on the 25th . . . . . . on the 28th the whole was finished . . . . . . Commodore Howe commanded the frigates and was entrusted with the direction of everything that related to the landing of the troops in the enemy’s dominions. "

P. 47. "We were favoured with a fair wind on Thursday the 1st June. Lord Anson immediately weighed and put to sea with all the Ships of war except those defined as convoy to the transports under the immediate direction of Commodore Howe. "

P. 48. "On Monday morning we made St. Maloes, and about two in the afternoon the whole fleet stood into the Bay of Cancalle. We were detained at Cancalle by north westerly winds, for two days, during which a packet arrived from England - another was dispatched thither with an account of our success and safe embarkation, and a flag of truce from St. Maloes went on board of the Commodore. "

P. 52. On Friday 16th "we sailed from the Bay, but next day we were obliged by contrary winds to return to our former station. "

From "A Genuine Narrative of the Enterprise against St. Maloe 1758. "

( British Museum, E. 9210. C. 46. )

P. 49. "We left St. Helens the first of this month meeting with a wind not so favourable as we could have wished we were forced through the Race of Alderney. The third day we were off Sark. The fourth day we saw Cape Fréhel and St. Maloes but the road being too dangerous for ships to ride we sailed the next morning to Cancalle Bay. "

16 battalions were sent to the Isle of Wight by the middle of May and at the end of the month 13, 000 men were encamped on the island . . . . . . on the 1st of June the armament set sail arriving on the 5th at Cancalle Bay about 8 miles from St. Malo. A French battery left for the defence of the bay was quickly silenced by the ships and on the following day the entire force was landed. One brigade was left to guard the landing place and the remainder marched to St. Malo where the light dragoons slipped down under cover of night and burned over a hundred, privateers and merchant vessels. (From Fortescue’s "History of the British Army. ")

In Corbett’s "England in the Seven Years’ War" the number of ships burnt at St. Servan is stated to be "four Kings’ ships of from fifty to eighteen guns on the stocks and sixty-two merchant men; and at Solidore, hard by, eight fine privateers ready for sea and twelve other vessels besides small craft and an enormous quantity of timber, cordage and naval stores. "

Thus, according to Fortescue, over 100 privateers and merchant vessels were burnt, according to Corbett 74 large vessels and twelve others. Emin, writing on 11th June, therefore is fairly correct since he says 73 were burnt, "besides small vessels. " In his narrative he says "133 ships large and small. "

The "glorious General Elliot. " - GEORGE AUGUSTUS ELIOT, born in Scotland 1717, died at Aix-la-Chapelle 1790. In 1775 Governor of Gibraltar, which he defended against the French and Spaniards in 1779-83, since when Gibraltar has been free from attack by land or sea. Raised to the peerage as Lord Heathfield, Baron of Gibraltar, 1787.

SIR JOHN ARMITAGE, 2nd Bart. b. 1738. M. P. for York, died unmarried (according to Thackeray in "The Virginians" affianced to the sister of Commodore Howe), killed in the unfortunate affair on the coast of France near St. Cas, in 1758.


There is nothing to show to whom this letter was written, unless from what he says of the kindness shown to him, "a stranger, " we may consider that it was addressed to Charles Stanhope. The recipient gave it to Mrs. Montagu, who preserved it.

By "Lahad" and "lohalle" Emin means the harbour of La Houle where the troops landed, and which was defended by the small battery of two guns silenced by Commodore Howe from the Success. Two brigades were landed on the 5th, the rest of the troops on the 6th, and on the 7th Marlborough ordered the advance to St. Malo and St. Servan where the shipping was fired. The incident of the French gentleman, "Count Lanual, " who met "Kingsly Granaders, " is thus related in "The Virginians" – "the only person slain on the whole day being a French gentleman who was riding with his servant and was surprised by volunteer Lord Downe marching in the front with a company of Kingsleys. My Lord Downe offered the gentleman quarter which he foolishly refused, whereupon he, his servant, and the two horses were straightway shot. "

After the shipping was burnt, the forces re-embarked and "the costly armament returned to Portsmouth having effected absolutely nothing. " (Fortescue. )

Loyalty to his chief prevented any comment in his letter beyond "what ever his Grace does is always right, " but the return without any fighting must have been a disappointment to Emin. The Essex, on board of which man-o’-war he returned, was the Commodore’s ship on the setting out of the expedition.

( June 1758 )


Give me Leave to acquaint you of our short Expedition as short as possible. That on the first day of June we set sail from S t Hellens, and on the fifth came to an anchor at Lahad, on the sixth all our army landed without the havy artillery (which I am sorry for) on the seventh we marched up to Parame about 8 miles from our landing place above, and by the order of his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, with a detatchment of few Horse and foot; advanced towards S t Malo 3 or 4 miles distance from our Camp, about nine o Clock in the evening, we begun to set fire to the Ships, and to the Dock, and magazine in the sight of the Town of S t Malo, without having the Honour of firing a shot from them, for all we were so near to the Place, as about a thousand yards without any manner of Covering, intirely exposed to their Batteries, exept second and third day of burning their ships wich they fired about 40 shots at us and killed hardly any. and on the 10 th we returned to our landing place here we are safe and sound Troops are embarking again and will be finished tomorrow.

I have not told you what opposition we met in our landing, and marching up so far into the most inclosed, and strongest Country ever was known. t here at lohalle was only 2 Cannon Battery, to which Captain Howe came up with one of our small frigates as near to it as possible, and dismounted them very soon; this is all the opposition we have met in such strong Place; our Generals and noble experienced Wariors say that had there been only fife hundred Regulars our landing would have been impracticable. We found few men, and few Women all the Villages emty, hardly any Provision in them, Kingsly Granaders happened to meet Count Lanual a man of a Considerable fortune in this Country would not surrender himself obstinately was kited with his servant and his Horse.

The reason of our coming away without taking the Town of S t Malo is not my Place to say any thing, what ever his Grace does is always right, I wish him well for he deserves to be victorious like his noble ancestor he is wery gracious to me, and so my lord George sackwell. I have one thing more to say that I have the supperstition to flatter myself that the Duke of Marlborough is now at the Head of the English Army they will be victorious let them be where they please.

The number of ships burnt is 73 from 40 to 16 Guns besides small Vessels this is all the account I can give you, and am sorry have not time enough to write to the rest of my Friends, but if you will be so good as to send it to M rs Montagu after you have read it, I shall be infinitely thankfull to you, it will be added to the rest of your Favours, and humanity your Goodness has already bestowed on me, a stranger, may God bless you, and preserve your Health I am with the utmost respect & Veneration.

Good S r

Your most obed t most obliged

humble servant

Housep Emin.

11 th June 1758

Cancail or Lohalle

P. S. my Compliments to D r Monsey, and General Elliots compliments to you

12 th June 1758 by the Help of Almighty all our army now are safe embarked without any Loss & I hope to return as safe on board of Essex, Man of War excuse the error of this for I have wrote without looking over.

When Emin came back with the troops, the duke of Marlborough hearing of his behaviour, promised to take him with him into Germany. But when they arrived in London, the duke invited him to his table; and after dinner, told him in private, that the king had ordered no volunteers to be admitted into the army then going over to join prince Ferdinand in Westphalia. His Grace made him accept thirty guineas. He having a great desire to go into the late king of Prussia’s army, told his intention to the duke, who said, "that in case he should not be received by His Majesty, upon his word he would take him then under his protection. " While he was in these active pursuits, his friends increased daily.

[There is no date to the following letter to Lord Lyttelton but it is clear that it was written after the "Buckeniering Enterprize" of St. Malo, and before Emin was admitted to the presence of the "Great man" - Mr. Pitt. ]


My Eastern Lord & Magnanimus Councelor.

I am sorry I have not wrote to Your Lordship before, ney I am ashamed, nor I deserwe your Foregiveness, but there is one thing that I can say to excuse myself, I have done nothing seen nothing, since I took my Leave of your Lordship, and therefore I thought needles to write to you, exept some Grand Affair had happened, that it might be worthy of my sage & great Lord’s Notice, whose prevailing and wise Councel is greater than the universe, and when I am so happy to be in his Presence, and heear his paternal advice about my Honest. Desings, my mind begins to feel satisfaction, and my Heart tells me that I shall overcome all difficulties, and save my distressed Country; my good Lord in this World I have hardly any Comfort, exept Great men like your Lordship, think well of my Undertakings, which is as much to me, as if I had already compassed it. The Instruction of wise man, is not only an Encouragement, but it is like Spur pearces me to persue & run faster; leap over Hedges, and Ditches, without minding any Danger. Thus I am resolved and shall remain so, till Death puts an End of this mortal Life.

In the Expedition (which is now calld a Buckeniering Enterprize) there was not good dill to be seen, or to be learn’t. I am now going to Prince Ferdinands Army, among my old Friends, there I will see a Campain till next winter. Duke of Marlbroug has been very good, and kind to me, and wou’d have taken me along with him, had not his Majesty ordered that there is no volunteers to go to Germany, but however be as it will, I shall see him again very soon in Germany, from thence I may be able to give your Lordship a good account, worth reading.

I have not yet seen the Great Man, I have been so many times to his Door that I am grown tired, however I don’t mind it, nor I care for it, as long as God has given me a good Heart I need not be afraid. D r Monsey has wrote to you last night, that M rs Montagu is very well, which is a great Comfort to me, and have not the Happyness to see her this Week, makes me very uneasey, lest the Queen of the East is displeased with her faithfull asiatick Slave. I am with the utmost Gratitude & Veneration

my Lord

your Lordships

most obliged most obed t

and devouted humble Servant


( On the back of this letter )

R t Honb le L d Littleton.