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I must own there appeared to me no this reinforcement I received the 6th, great probability of preserving Minorca and shipped them the 7th; which day at this time; but, however, have the sa- the Experiment arrived, the Portland tisfaction to find, that the ministers at and Dolphin two days before. These, home, for once at least, agreed in opi- with the rest of Mr Edgcumbe's fquanion with me. Since the moment intel. dron, were manned and equipped in the ligence came that the Toulon fleet was beft manner I was able. And without failed, and the troops landed upon the waiting to fully water the ships, I failed island, there was not a man who did not in the morning of the 8th, though the despair of Minorca.
wind, was eafterly, and arrived off MiHence I dispatched an express with norca the 19th. this account; which was at first hushed Thus far I will presume upon my inup in filence, afterwards represented nocence. But why (it may be alked) (without producing it) as the defponding was not Minorca at this time relieved ? letter of a man who would not fight. I answer, Because I was not sent time What authority these gentlemen had for enough to prevent the enemy's landing : this invidious prophecy, I am yet at a
and that when I was sent, I was not loss to account for, unlefs a declared strong enough to beat the enemy's fleet, resolution in its contents to meet the and raise the siege. Let others answer, French fleet, may be deemed a justifi- why I came fo late, and why I came able foundation for it. But the letter fo weak, with a force not culculated for has been laid [xviii. 497.) before the such an expedition. But after the encourt.
gagement, it may be said, I might have It has also been given out, no doubt reattacked the enemy, and landed the with the fame uniform malicious inten- succours. I might indeed have done tion to defame every circumstance of my the first, with a certainty almost of beconduct, that I made unnecessary delays ing defeated. I could not have done at Gibraltar, and this fupposed to be the last though I had been victorious. solely on the account of watering. Had I been defeated, what refuge would I presume the propriety, and indeed the have been left for the shattered fleet?necessity will readily appear, of furnish- what security for Gibraltar? which must ing the fleet with a fufficiency of water have been exposed to the hazard of a and provisions, which was proceeding sudden fiege, without a single ship to deupon an expedition where the only port fend it, and which place was equally capable of supplying its wants was recommended to my protection. -But known to be in the enemy's possession, it seems (such is the fatality attending and who by intelligence appeared to be my conduct) that I am even held blamewell supplied with all kinds of neceffa- able for calling a council of war in fo ries. This was not the cause, but the critical a conjuncture. Yet when is adeffect of my stay at this place, and trans- vice so necessary as on such an occasion ? acted during the execution of other af. I admit, where orders are positive to fight fairs directed by my instructions. I at all events or all hazards whatever, ic arrived at Gibraltar the ad of May af- is criminal to deliberate. But was I unter noon; and failed thence the 8th in der such orders ? Let my instructions the morning; a space of five days only; speak for me. Is a commander expectin which time I communicated my or. ed to fight in all situations, and under ders to the governor relating to a de- all disadvantages ? Surely all extremes tachment from the garrison, waited the are culpable; and where nothing is to result of a council of war held the 4th, be gained, and all may be loft, fighting then folicited a reinforcement to sup. becomes presumptuous rashness or phrenply the deficiency of men in Mr Edg- sy. I therefore beg leave to recomcumbe's squadron, occafioned by the mend to your particular consideration loss of those who had been disimbarked the different situation of the two fleets at for the fuccour of St Philip's. A liit of this time, and thall refer you to the miVOL. XIX,
nutes of a council of war held on board fection: for though he should fail to enthe Ramillies the 24th of May, already gage or affift, &c. untess this failure aplaid before the court (89.), and when parently proceeds from one of these you shall have duly weighed the opinion causes, he is not guilty:
-Negligence of this council, the unanimity of its cannot be taken in so large a sense as to members, and their characters, what mean every sort of neglect and omission, apprehension can I have of my beha. but such gross negligence only as evi. viour on this occasion falling under your dently indicates cowardice or disaffeccensure, since it would necessarily imply tion. Such, and such only, can be petheir guilt ?
nal, and was intended to be made capiWhat I have now offered being veri tal. Any other construction might exfied by the testimony of the witnesses, pose the bravest man that ever comwill, i flatter myself, be abundantly fuf. manded to the feverest penalties, fince ' ficient to exculpate me from the firit ge- a single error in judgment might render neral charge; and that the court will be him liable to the most capital punishof opinion, that I never retreated from ment. the island, till it was impracticable to By this rule I must desire
my conduct make
further attempi; and that the may be judged ; and if my intentions place was not loft by me, who was too appear to be good and my courage clear, weak to save it, but by those who might I ought to stand acquitted by all good have sent double the force two months men, even though my abilities should earlier, and neglected it.
be deemed deficient. Yet permit me to complain, that in And I must beg leave to observe, that order to render me criminal in the eyes this article of my charge can only relate of the people, the fame authorised pa- to my personal courage and conduct duper before mentioned was likewise pro ring the action; and therefore any dif. stituted to mangle and curtail my letter position (admitting it could be corrected) to the admiralty on this occasion, and can only be accounted an error of judg. subscribed my name to my own defa ment. - I do not mention this to avoid mation. [xviii. 294. 498.).
entering into that part of my conduct, I shall now proceed to the second part since I flatter myself that I fhall be able of the charge against me, that of cowar to shew, considering the circumstances, dice: and though I have already ta- several difpofitions of the two fleets, ken up so much of your time, thail make and unavoidable accidents, that the no apology for your farther patience, as whole, as far as could depend upon me, I am convinced, gentlemen of your im- was conducted with that propriety and partiality will think no indulgence of this naval military skill which is requikind too much, where the life, and, site in a commander in chief. -But what is still much more, the honour of the court will please to remember, this an officer of my rank in the service, is is no part of the charge against me. at stake. I shall forbear to point out the
[The Admiral then gives a long narrative of consequence to the service in general, the transactions of the feet from the 19th of May not to furnish even my enemies with an to the 24th, and produces several letters, among opportunity of construing it an endea which are some that passed betwixt the admiraltyvour to bespeak a partiality.
board and him when a prisoner at Greenwich. In The 12th article of war is that which these, it must be confessed, as was faid'on a for
mer occasion, he discovers a spirit very different provides a proper punishment for cow.
from that of a man conscious of guilt, and conardice, and runs in the following words. fused and intimidated by the fear of punishment.
Every person in the fleet, who, They are writ in the same strain with the one through cowardice," &c. [46.].
he wrote on being superseded [xviii. 497. 500.).
We shall in sert only one paragraph more, viz.] I would first beg leave to observe, that in order to bring any person within the No symptom of cowardice, that'odious peril of this article, he must be convict- and capital part of my charge, has hithered of cowardice, negligence, or disaf to appeared to the court. And my in
nocence, and conscious discharge of my those orders till they were called off, be. daty, makes me confident that none tween 11 and 12 o'clock, by signal from will appear. Yet have I already suffere the Admiral, upon discovery of the ed the severest penalties that can be in- French fleet in the south-east quarter. flicted on it, being hung up in effigy, 4. It appears, That the feet stood traduced by libels, tortured by misre. towards the enemy the remaining part presentations and calumny, disgraced of the day, with calms and little winds, and superseded, upon no better autho- till they tacked in the evening. rity than the gasconade of the French 5. The court are of opinion, That Admiral [xviii. 500.], arrested and con- the Admiral proceeded properly, upon fined beyond the example of former discovery of the French fleet, to stand times, treated like a felon with every towards them. indignity, and my life pursued with the 6. It appears, That Maj.-Gen. Stuart, most inveterate malice. But all this I Lord Emingham, and Col. Cornwallis, have had fortitude enough to despise, with about thirty officers, and some reand treat with the contempt it deserves, cruits, amounting in the whole to about the result of a conscience clear of all 100, belonging to the different regiments crimes.
in garrison at St Philip's, were on board After reading the Admiral's defence, Ships of the squadron. the court proceeded to examine his wit
7. * The court are of opinon, That nesses. On the 19th the evidence was
as so great a number of officers were on closed. The remaining part of that
board the fleet, belonging to the garriday, and the two following, the court fon
of St Philips, where they mult neemployed in reading the evidence and cessarily be much wanted, the Admiral the prisoner's defence. On the 22d, ought to have put them on board one of 24th, 25th and 26th, they agreed tó the frigates he fent ahead, in order to thirty-fix resolutions, and on the 27th have been landed, if found practicable ;
if saw -They follow verbatim. • 1. * It does not appear, That any have endeavoured to land them, notwith
Aleet, he ought to have let the frigate unnecessary delay was made by Adm. Byng, in the proceedings of the fqua- standing he did see the enemy's feet. dron under his command, from the time
8. It appears, That from the time of of their failing from St Helen's, on the first seeing the French fleet in the morn6th April, to the time of their arrival off ing of the 19th of May, till our fleet Minorca on the 19th of May.
weathered the French, about noon of
the 20th, the Admiral took proper mea2. It appears, That upon the fleet's getting fight of Minorca, on the morn
sures to gain and keep the wind of the ing of the 19th of May, the Admiral enemy, and to form and close the line
of battle. detached three frigates (the Phænix, Chesterfield, and Dolphin) ahead, with
It appears, That the yan of our orders to Capt. Hervey of the Phænix,
fleet upon the starboard tack, stretched to endeavour to land á letter, from the beyond the rear of the enemy's fleet, and Admiral, to Lt-Gen. Blakeney, and to
that our whole fleet then tacked all togemake observations of what batteries or
ther, by signal; the enemy's fleet lying forts the enemy might be pofleffed of a
at the same time to leeward, in a line of long the shore.
battle ahead, on the larboard tack, un3. It appears. That those frigates
der their topfails, with their maintop
fails square. were got ahead of the fleet and in shore, and the Phænix close to the Lair of Ma
10. It appears, That immediately afhon, and were endeavouring to execute
ter our fleet was about upon the larboard [The word Unanimously is prefixed to every
tack, our rear was considerably farther
than resolution, except the 7th, to which these words to windward of the enemy's rear, are prefixed, 12 Yeas for all the officers, 1 for our van was of their van. the general and field officers only.]
11. The court are of opinion, That
to one more.
when the British fleet on the starboard 18. It appears, That upon the signal tack were stretched abreast, or about the being made for battle, and the van put. beam of the enemy's line, the Admiral ting before the wind, the Admiral in the should have tacked the fleet all together, Ramillies edged away fome points, and and immediately have conducted it on a the Trident and Princess Louisa thereby direct course for the enemy; the van becoming to windward of him, the Admisteering for the enemy's van, the rear ral thereupon hauled up his foresail, backfor their rear, each ship for her opposite ed his mizentopfail, and endeavoured to ship in the enemy's line, and under such back his maintopsail, to allow of their a fail as might have enabled the worst gettinginto their stations, and continued in failing ship, under all her plain fail, to that situation for five, fix, or seven minutes. preserve her station.
19. - It is the opinion of the court, 12. It appears, That soon after the That the Admiral, after the signal was fleet were upon the larboard tack, the made for battle, separated the rear from Admiral made signals for leading two the van division, and retarded the rear points to starboard, which brought the division of the British fleet from closing wind upon or abaft the beam ; and the with and engaging the enemy, by his Thips continued that course, nearly ahead shortening fail, by hauling up his foreof each other, till the Admiral made the fail, backing his mizentopíail, and backSignal for battle.
ing, or attempting to back his naintop13. It appears, That the Admiral fail, in order that the Trident and Prinmade the fignal for battle about twenty cess Louisa might get ahead again of minutes after two o'clock.
the Ramillies. 14. It appears, That at the time the 20. It is the opinion of the court, signal was made for battle, the French That instead of shortening fail, the Adfleet was still lying to leeward, with their miral ought to have made the 'Trident's main opfails square, as before mentioned, and Princess Louisa's signals to make and that our van was considerably nearer more fail ; and that he ought also to their van than our rear was to their to have set lo much fail himself as
would have enabled the Colloden (the 15. It appears, That upon the signal worst sailing ship in his division) to have being made for battle, the ships of our kept her station will all her plain fail set, van division bore down properly for the in order to have got down with as much Mips opposed to them in the enemy's expedition as possible to the enemy, and line, and engaged them, till the five thereby have properly supported the van headmost ships of the enemy went away division. to leeward, out of gunshot.
21. It appears, That the Admiral, 16. It appears, That the sternmost after shortening fail, as before mention ship of our van division, the Intrepide, ed, again set his foresail, and filled his having hauled up, and engaged about topsails, and steered, with the wind abaft ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, lost the beam, a slanting course towards the her foretopmaf, a little before three o' enemy, under that fail, till about three clock.
o'clock, when the people in the Ramil17. It appears, That the Revenge, lies began to fire without orders, at too the headmoit fhip of the rear division, great a distance for engaging ; but the bore down (after the ships of the van firing was continued by the Admiral's bore down) for the ship opposed to her directions. in the enemy's line, and that she brought 22. It appears, That some little time up, upon the weather quarter of the In- before this firing began in the Ramillies, trepide, upon the Intrepide's foretopmast the Princess Louisa was seen from the going away; and that she quickly after. Ramillies flung up in the wind, with wards, upon the Intrepide's setting her her topsails thaking, and the Trident forefail, bore down under the Intrepide's paffing her to leeward, the Trident be. lee quarter, and brought up there. ing then a little upon the weather bow
of the Ramillies; and that the Revenge came near the three then sternmost ships had been also seen to bring to under the of our van, gave them their fire ; that Intrepide's lee quarter.
some of their shot fell short, and some 23. It appears, That when the firing did the Defiance damage; and then the had been continued a little while in the French edged away to join their own Ramillies, an alarm was given of a van to leeward. fhip being close under her lee bow, ima.
30. It appears, That from the time gined to be one of our ships, and which the Admiral first hauled up his foresail proved to be the Trident: That, upon and backed his topfails to get clear of this alarm, the Admiral immediately or- the Trident, to the time of his filling dered the helm to be put alee, the fore his topfails, and setting his foresail again, fail hauled up, and the topfails to be was about twenty
minutes. backed, and firing to cease, till the men 31. It appears, That about the time hould see French colours; and made of the Admiral's filling, he made the the signal for the fleet to brace to, the signal for the rear of the feet to make rear to brace co first, in order that the more sail and close the line, caused the Thips astern might not run on board him ; Princess Louisa and Trident to be hailed but to prevent this signal taking effect to make fail into their stations, and then upon the ships ahead, he ordered it to be setting his mainfail, jib, and staysails, hauled down in a very few minutes, and passed to leeward of the Intrepide, orcaused the signal to be hoisted for the dered the Deptford to take the Intrefleet to fill and stand on, the van to fill pide's place in the line, and the Chesterfirst.
field to take care of the Intrepide, and 24. It appears, That the Princess Lou- ftanding on towards our van, joined isa was also seen about the same time, them a little after five o'clock in the with her maintopsail fhivering, or aback, evening. upon the weather bow of the Ramillies. 32. The court are of opinion, That
25. The court are of opinion, That after the ships which had received dawhile the Ramillies was firing, in going mage in the action, were as inuch refitdown, the Trident, and ships imme- ted as circumstances would permit, the diately or ahead of the Ramillies, pro. Admiral ought to have returned with ved an impediment to the Ramillies con- the squadron off St Philip's, and have tinuing to go dowo.
endeavoured to open a communication 26. The court are of opinion, That with that castle, and to have used every the Admiral acted wrong, in directing means in his power for its relief, before the firing of the Ramillies to be conti- he returned to Gibraltar, nued, before he had placed her at a 33. The court are of opinion, That proper distance from the enemy; as he Adm. Byng did not do his utmost to rethereby not only threw away shot use. lieve St Philip's castle, in the island of lessly, but occafioned a smoke, which Minorca, then besieged by the forces prevented his seeing the motions of the of the French King. enemy, and the position of the ships im 34. The court are of opinion, That mediately ahead of the Ramillies. Adm. Byng, during the engagement be
27. It appears, That hortly after the tween his Majesty's feet under his comhauling up of the foresail and backing mand and the feet of the French King, the topsails, all firing ceased on board on the 20th of May laft, did not do his the Ramillies.
utmost to take, seize, and destroy the 28. It appears, That when the smoke ships of the French King, which it was cleared up, upon the Ramillies ceasing his duty to have engaged, and to affift to fire, the centre and rear of the French such of his Majesty's ships as were enfleet had filled their maintopfails and gaged in fight with the French ships, fet their forefails.
which it was his duty to have aslifted. 29. It appears, That the French
35. It appears, by the evidence of centre and rear stood on, and as they Lord Robert Bertie,' Lt-Col. Smith,