Georges-Rene Pléville Pelley
Georges-Rene Pléville Pelley was born with Granville the June 29th 1726 and died in Paris the October 2nd 1805. Norman sailor, governor of the port of Marseilles, Admiral, Minister for the Navy and the Colonies from July 15th, 1797 to April 27th, 1798, Senator, knight of the royal and military Order of Saint-Louis and of the Order of Cincinnatus, it is one of the first Grands Officers of the Legion of Honor.
Its origins and its youth
He is wire of a captain in the merchant navy, Herve Pelley, lord of Pléville. His/her mother is the girl of the lord of Saussey in the parish of Lingreville.
Georges-Rene Pléville Pelley was born with Granville and was very early attracted by the sea and the ships. Very young orphan, it makes a running away of the college of Coutances to engage on a Terre-neuvas in 1738. His/her uncle who intends it for the priesthood asks his captain to disgust it at sea life. Also its first countryside as Pilotin is it particularly hard, and it is collected with Newfoundland by a Capitaine former friend of his father and more understanding. It carries out then several years fishing to the Morue on various buildings. Sign in 1740 on the Town of Quebec , it revolts against a shut-down which it considers unjust, and flees whereas the building is failed on the coast of the Canada. It only goes during 50 days through the Canadian forest, meeting Indian tribes , before finally joining Quebec where it is collected by a sympathizing family. It finds to embark under a pseudonym like Timonier and continues the following years to be useful on Newfoundland fishing boats.
The war of succession of Austria
It enters to the guards of the navy but is too poor to remain there, also it engages on small a Corsaire of Granville, the Francoise of the Lake , like lieutenant. This building was met under the island of Jersey, a few hours after its exit of the port, by two Corsaire S English which crushed it under the crossfire their guns. It is wounded at the time of this very hard combat which lasts six hours. It there loses the right leg and is made Prisoner of war. Collected like a son with Falmouth in the family of a civil servant of the Admiralty, it there is looked after and learns English until his exchange. It then serves in the royal navy as lieutenant of frigate on Argonaute ordered by Tilly Pelley, another uncle, then on the vessel the Mercure which belonged to the Escadre sent in 1746, under the orders of the duke of Anville, to take again the Cape-Breton . The squadron is attacked on its return of Chibouctou by the admiral Anson. In the combat a ball carried the wooden leg of Pléville Pelley: “ the Boulet was mistaken ” says it while laughing to its captain, “ it gave of work only the carpenter ”. He is again made prisoner.
With its release, it sets out again like corsair. He is officer as a second on the Count de Noailles on which he is still made prisoner. He succeeds in however escaping little before the end from the war. He makes then like second of the Contrebande on the coasts of England then, as captain, again of fishing with Newfoundland during four years.
The Seven Year old war
Its building, the Shining , is requisitioned to convey troops in the forwarding of Minorque in 1756 then during the operation on the Corsica . It commandr the corsair the Hummingbird which belongs to his/her father-in-law Jean Rambaud, who is at the same time corsair and ship-owner corsair. Pléville informs the French navy about the movements of the English vessels. Its Corvette is abused at the time of several engagements. The Colibri is integrated in the squadron Of Clue in 1758 into the Martinique.
Of 1758 with 1762, it orders a small building of the royal navy, the Swallow , with which it seizes three buildings of the Compagnie of the Indies. At the time of a combat, it loses its wooden leg again.
Health issues retain it in functions with ground in the following years: it is Lieutenant and harbor master to the Martinique in 1763, writes a treaty on the Mât RUE and makes the statement of the roads of the the Antilles.
Governor of the port of Marseilles
Returned to France, it is affected with the wearing of Marseilles as harbor master. The English Frigate Alarm , storm-tossed in the evening of May 1st 1770, was lowered on the coast of Provence, in the middle of the rocks on which it ran the imminent danger to break. This disaster gave to Pléville the opportunity to deploy its nautical knowledge, its coolness and its courage. Informed state of distress of the building, it gathers with haste the pilots of the port, is surrounded of the most intrepid sailors, and at their head flies to the help of the English, by facing in the middle of the one night darkness of storm the dangers of a sea in fury. It moors with a Grelin, is lowered along the rocks, and arrives with its wooden leg aboard frigate of which it takes the command. The building had already given several blows of heel, it started to touch. Pléville orders an operation which gives it to flood and leads it in the wearing of Marseilles. This frigate was ordered by the captain John Jervis, died Admiral of the British fleet and which will receive the title of Lord Saint-Vincent to have destroyed the Spanish fleet close to the course of the same name in 1797. The intrepid devotion of the lieutenant of the wearing of Marseilles was appreciated with dignity in England. The Lords of admiralty gave him a bright testimony of the recognition of the British government, by charging the Jervis captain with going back to Marseilles with the frigate Alarm , to give on their behalf to Pléville-le-Pelley one extremely rich present, and a letter by which they expressed the feelings to him that its control had inspired to them.
The letter was thus designed:
“ Sir, the quality of the service that you returned to the frigate Alarm makes the noble desire and the admiration of the English. Your courage, your prudence, your intelligence, your talents deserved that Providence crowned your efforts. Success made your reward; but we ask you to accept as a homage paid to your merit and as a pledge of our regard and our recognition, which the Jervis captain is charged to give you of our share.
With the name and of order of Milords, STEPHANS. ”
The present consisted of a part of Argenterie in the shape of ballot box, on which were engraved maritime dolphins and other attributes, with a model of the frigate Alarm ; the lid, richly engraved, was surmounted by a Triton. This vase, remarkable by the elegance of its form and finished work, carried on a side the weapons of England, and other the following inscription, intended to preserve the memory of the event which had given place to this superb present:
Georgio-Renato Pleville Pelley, nobili normano Grandivillensi, navis bellicœ portusque Massiliensis pro prœfecto, ob navim regiam in litiore gallico pericli-tantem virtute diligentiâque suâ serva-tam. Septem wine reinavalis Britannicœ. M.DCCLXX . ( Georges-Rene Pléville Pelley, noble Norman of Granville, captain of and wearing warship of Marseilles saved destruction a royal ship which was going to be lost on the French coast. )
Pléville, considering that it could not receive from present of a foreign sovereign, accepted only after being duly authorized there by the king of France. Ten years after, the devotion of Pléville Pelley to the safety of Alarm found a reward not less honourable, but of another kind. His/her son, young naval officer, having been taken on a frigate, following a combat in 1780, and lead in England, the British Admiralty made it return in France without exchange, after having authorized it to choose three of his comrades to take them along with him.
the war of American independence
At the time of the war of America, it makes function of Lieutenant in the squadron of Estaing starting from 1778 on the Flagship, the Languedoc . It takes part in all the countryside and its various combat. It is charged by Estaing with the sale with the catches and supply and astonishes by its satisfying, those which were in charge of this type of mission usually not missing to grow rich personally on this occasion. It is promoted Captain on intervention of the Admiral, but returns to France with him and takes again its old functions with the wearing of Marseilles where, there aussin it slices compared to its pars while testifying to a honesty as exemplary as rare at that time, agreeing completely to live chichement on its only official treatment in spite of an large family to maintain.
Under the Revolution
It adopts the principles of the Revolution, like the majority of the officers having been useful in America, but with moderation. He is treasurer of the revolutionary Club of Marseilles. He unloads with Avignon, the saber with the hand, to bring back the order there. During the Terror, it is sent to take the command of a division charged to escort a convoy of blocked supply with Tunis, to replace Vence shown treason. Once on the spot, it notes that Vence is really in difficulty and at all did not fail in its duty. Being unaware of its orders, it maintains it with its command and simply its assistance offers to him. This will be worth to him some difficulties with the authorities with the return but, thanks to him, Vence will be completely bleached.
It filled of the functions to the ministry for the navy during two years then reorganizes the naval forces with Ancône and Corfou. It one of the three plenipotentiary S (with Letourneur and Maret) is sent to Lille for negotiations, unfruitful, with England.
Rear-admiral in 1797, it is called by the Directoire as Minister for the navy and the colonies to replace Truguet. There still, he is noticed for his satisfying and his scrupulous honesty in a mode particularly marked by the generalized corruption of the political elites and administrative. He is made Vice-amiral in April 1798, but resigns of the ministry because he disapproves the adventure of the forwarding of Egypt, from which it is convinced that the navy does not have the means. The disaster of Aboukir to the end of the year will give him reason.
Although 72 years old, it orders some time the naval forces of the the Mediterranean then is withdrawn in Paris.
The Consulate names it Senator in 1799, and the Empire ordering of the Légion of honor as of the creation of the order. He dies shortly after.
A man of exception
Pléville Pelley was on all the plans a man of exception: a large sailor and a corsair of first order of a rare physical courage. The way in which it saved the frigate Alarm whereas nobody dared to try something is worthy of a novel of adventures: let us not forget that he was unijambist… He did not hesitate either to endanger his reputation and his career, with the contempt of his kinds in one time when the heads fell easily, by supporting wrongfully marked Vence. Finally its satisfying throughout its career and its refusal to be useful itself is completely remarkable whereas under the Ancien Mode it was of allowed use that any civil servant serf with the passage, and under the Directory one of the most corrupted modes which France knew. This satisfying and this honesty will lead it, him and its family, with the threshold of misery in several moments, in particular at the time of its functions in Marseilles. A too forgotten character.
NB: its portrait is with the Musée of the Old man Granville and its statue dominates the port of the city. One can see his bust with the Château of Versailles.
- Guy de Rambaud, For the love of the Dolphin , Anovi 2005, ISBN: 2-91418-02-5, biography of Agathe de Rambaud
- Guy de Rambaud, Rambaud, thousand years of history (handwritten)
- Monique Pelley-Fonteny: Itinéraire of a sailor granvillais: Georges-Rene Pléville Pelley (1726-1805). Neptunia vol. 55, Paris, 2000.
- Its memories: Mémoires of a sailor granvillais , collective, Collection inheritance, the Cultural Books of the English Channel, Maison of Department 50008 St-Lô * Georges Fleury: prize winner of the Price Henri Queffélec 2000, for his work the Corsair - Pléville Pelley - 1726-1805 , ED. Flammarion
- Monique Pelley-Fonteny, Desired Gilles said Gosset, Antoine Reffuveille, Rémy Villand: The admirals granvillais, catalogs exposure 2006-2007. General advice of the English Channel. * Hubert Granier, rear-admiral (2nd S.), Marine of France to the combat 1715-1789 , Editions France Worsens, Paris, 1995
- Jean Marc Van Hille, the vicissitudes of a sailor of Provence, Jean Gaspard Vence, 1747-1808 , Historical Service of the Navy, Paris.
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