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 Anthony James Pye Molloy 
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Post Anthony James Pye Molloy
I posted a bit about Molloy in this thread: Assessment of Fellow Officers

I found this quote in Southey's Common-Place Book (1851) under the heading "Sea-Captain's Exclamation":

"I, Anthony James Pye Molloy,
Can make, break, disrate, and destroy."

This was the usual exclamation of this gallant captain of the "Caesar," as he walked the deck.

****

I assume this is something Southey wrote to sum up Molloy? Or did Molloy really strut around saying something like that? And I suppose Southey was being facetious by saying "gallant"?

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Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:45 pm
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A.J.P. Molloy: Lieutenant 1768, Master & Commander 1776, Post Captain 1778.

Molloy had a distinguished career in command of the TRIDENT 64 and later the INTREPID 64 under Byron, Rodney and Hood during the War of American Independence.

Whilst captain of the TRIDENT, Molloy had imprisoned his Purser for three days and then released him without charge on enquiring into the matter. The Purser, Swinton, subsequently sued Molloy in a civil action and recovered damages. There are indications that the Trident was not a happy ship.

With the opening of the Great War in 1793, Molloy was commanding the GANGES 74 in the Channel Fleet under Howe. At the end of that year he was appointed to commission the CAESAR 80, a new, fast and powerful ship that joined the Channel Fleet. Lord Howe did not have a high opinion of Molloy, perhaps influenced by the latter’s frequent requests for leave of absence.

At the battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794 the CAESAR led the line of battle on the recommendation of Sir Roger Curtis, the Captain of the Fleet. During this engagement several British ships had “notoriously behaved themselves somewhat ill”. One of these was Captain Molloy’s CAESAR (allegedly with a discontented crew) which, following the battle, had been repeatedly mentioned by name in an unfavourable light. Molloy requested and was granted a court martial to clear his name in relation to his conduct as captain of the CAESAR. He was a particular friend of Sir Roger Curtis who, in the absence of Earl Howe, with the agreement of Molloy and with the permission of the Court, had the unpleasant duty of acting as Molloy’s prosecutor at the trial.

The court found that he had not done his best to pass through the enemy’s line on May 29th, nor to take up his proper station on June 1st. “As it appears to the court that in the actions of the 29th May and 1st June, as well as on many former occasions, his personal courage was unimpeachable, it doth adjudge him only to be dismissed from command of His Majesty’s Ship CAESAR”. He was never again employed at sea and was passed over in the 1795 promotions to flag rank.


Wed Dec 31, 2008 10:15 pm
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Thank you Peter, for posting those details about Molloy.

I found the following, which includes a slightly longer, different version of the verse:

"If tradition be correct, the lady whom this luckless warrior deserted was still more effectually avenged by her successful rival, than even by the fulfilment of her malediction, the Captain having been an exception to the general supposition, that brave men abroad are the greatest cowards under their own roof, and vice versa, as may be inferred from the following lines, which have appeared in print before:

'I, Anthony James Pye Molloy,
Can burn, take, sink, and destroy;
There's only one thing I can't do, on my life!
And that is, to stop the d—d tongue of my wife.'

As for the Caesar, I think the name, before the close of the war, had been, under such commanders as Saumarez, Brenton, and Strachan, amply cleared from the discredit brought upon it by her first captain.

J.S. Warden."

From: Notes and Queries Volume 11 (Jan–Jun 1855)

***

Seems Molloy had problems in his personal as well as professional life. Does anyone have details about what was going on with the woman he deserted and his wife?

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Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:15 am
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Molloy was married to Juliana, sister of Admiral Sir Francis Laforey and daughter of Admiral Sir John Laforey. Fanny Burney liked her. Prince William Henry did not.


Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:32 pm
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The Times, December 28th, 1785:

" .... A few days ago at Stoke church, near Plymouth, Anthony P Molloy, Esq., Captain of his Majesty's ship Carnatic, to Miss Juliana Laforey, daughter of Commissioner Laforey of Plymouth Dock-yard ..."


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Post Re: Anthony James Pye Molloy
Anthony James Pye Molloy was the nephew of Admiral Sir Thomas Pye (by the Admiral’s sister and her second husband). Doubtless his uncle’s patronage was critical to his early career. There was never any question about his bravery until 1794 and that court martial.

On 13 Oct 1775 Molloy was commissioned by Admiralty as 3d Lieutenant, HMS Bistol (4th rate, 50 guns), the flagship of Commodore Sir Peter Parker. Following Parker’s (& Gen. Sir Henry Clinton’s) failed attempt to capture Charles Town, S.C., Molloy was promoted on 06 July 1776 to Master & Commander, HMS Thunder, Bomb Vessel.

On 13-14 Mar 1777 the log of HMS Thunder, Bomb Vessel, (ADM 51/987) reported: [March 13th] “at 8 [A.M.] a Signal was made on Bd the Brune for a Ct Martial to enquire into a Compl[ain]t alleged ag[ain]st Capt. Anthony James Pye Molloy Esqr Commander of this Ship by Mr Richd Hancorn, late masters mate of the said Ship for having been treated in a tyranicle manner by the sd Capt. Molloy. At Noon the Court Still Sitting. [March 14th] at 5 P M the Ct was opened when the Charge was partly proved agst Capt Molloy but from the General and good Character, that he bore from the rest of his Officers the Ct thought proper to sentence him to be reprimanded only.”

On 02 May 1777, Lowe Howe transferred Molloy to command HMS Senegal, Sloop. On 12 Oct 1776, Molly reported to Captain Hyde Parker, Jr, the Senior Naval Officer in the Chesapeake, of the death of Lieutenant James Thane which Parker duly reported to Lord Howe without details.

On 11 April 1778 Admiralty promoted Molloy to Captain of HMS Trident (3d rate, 64 guns) the flagship of Commodore-designate John Elliot who carried Molloy’s commission to America. From Memoir of the Naval Life and Services of Admiral Sir Philip C.H.C. Durham (1846) by A. Murray, there is a comment about Anthony James Pye Molloy. Upon arrival in America, Midshipman Durham was sent on board Senegal (Molloy's ship) to move Molloy's baggage to Trident (the ship Durham was on and Molloy was joining). When he got there, the first lieutenant of Senegal said to him: "Well, young gentleman, you have come for your captain's baggage, haven't you? I wish you joy of him; he is one of the most tyrannical, overbearing fellows I ever met with; he led my predecessor such a life that the poor fellow cut his throat, but I would cut his before I cut my own."

The Lieutenant on HMS Senegal, Sloop, was John O’Bryen, commissioned retroactive to 12 Oct 1778 by Lord Howe.

I find accounts of mutinies or near-mutinies on HMS Trident in the West Indies but I am unable to authoritatively document those incidents. He once locked up Trident’s purser for three days without cause and after the war the Purser sued Molloy in the King’s Bench Court and was awarded £1000 in damages.

In 1780 when Molloy commanded HMS Intrepid (3d rate, 64 guns), Continental Navy Lieutenant Joshua Barney, a prisoner on board, branded him: “the Greatest Tyrant in the British Navy.” (mss autobiography, DAR Library, Washington, DC).


Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:22 pm
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Post Re: Anthony James Pye Molloy
Thanks for adding more details about Molloy's background.

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Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:57 pm
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