The monument erected to the memory of Sir Edward Pellew in the church at Christow records lines from a poem written to commemorate:
“Lord Exmouth’s humane and magnanimous conduct, when, at the imminent risk of his life, he rescued (under the blessing of Divine Providence) near five hundred souls, men, women and children, many of whom were sick, from the wreck of the ‘Dutton’ East Indiaman, in a tremendous storm, January 26th 1796″.
There are many references to the poem, amongst which are:
The Monthly Magazine – Volume 1 – Page 314 – (The Monthly Magazine and British Register for 1796 Vol 1)
The Naval Chronicle – Volume 6 – Page 51 – (James Stanier Clarke, Stephen Jones, John Jones – 1801 – Naval art and science)
Biographical Sketches in Cornwall …: In Three Volumes – (Richard Polwhele, John Whitaker – 1831). It is interesting that in this book Richard Polwhele says: “I have friends who were witnesses of Sir Edward Pellew’s unparalled courage under the citadel of Plymouth in 1796. The author of the following stanzas was one of the spectators.….. These stanzas should be rescued from oblivion for the sake of the last line.”
The Exeter Flying Post of October 3rd 1816:
“Lord Viscount Exmouth. It must be in the recollection of many of our readers, that on the 26th of January, 1796, the Dutton East Indiaman, in the transport service, was wrecked under the Citadel of Plymouth, and totally lost. Lord Viscount Exmouth, (then Sir Edward Pellew) was with many others a spectator from the shore of the dreadful calamity; and after offering a most liberal reward to any one who would convey a rope on board, but which none could be found to undertake, he boldly resolved to attempt the hazardous enterprize himself, and instantly dashing into the foaming waves, swam to the sinking wreck which he never quitted until he had completed his work of humanity, by saving the lives of nearly 500 of his fellow-creatures, who, but for his exertions, must inevitably have perished; the freedom of the Borough of Plymouth was presented to him in an elegant silver box, and at a public entertainment given on the occasion, the following stanzas, written by a Gentleman of Plymouth were recited; an insertion of them at this time perhaps may prove interesting :”
There are slightly different versions of the poem published. I must check out the actual memorial at Christow. The Exeter Flying Post published version has as its third line of the final stanza: “The Saving Angel, with triumphant arm”.