Captain Richard Pierce, was among the 200 men and women who lost their lives when the Halsewell, was shattered against the Seaford cliffs in 1786. This was Captain Pierce's third voyage and, having acquired great wealth, he was intending to retire on his return. The poem fed the public's appetite for news and comment on the tragedy. It paints a picture of Pierce as a gallant hero, who forfeited his own life to stay with his two daughters in the sinking vessel. The somewhat histrionic footnote describes this act as a 'Glorious Sacrifice to Paternal Tenderness'.