Abbildungen der Seite

The board humbly submitted it to his nárque, and confined in the captain's Majesty, as their unanimous opinion up- cabin upon the quarterdeck. And as on the whole, That the conduct of the soon as the warrant for his death arrived faid major-general and colonels was at Portsmouth, all his friends who came clear from any suspicion of disobedience to see him, were obliged to leave him of orders or neglect of duty.

before it was dark, and go on fhore.

An additional number of marine officers Extracts from the authentic and circumfian- and marines were ordered on board that

tial account of the confinement, beha; ship, and centinels were diligently pla: viour, and death of Adm. Byng. [108.] ced, with directions to call aloud to each O

N Thursday, Jan. 27. when the other, All is well, every five minutes in

Admiral was sent for on board the night. This circumstance almost to. the St George to receive his sentence, tally depriving the Admiral of sleep, behe declared to some of his friends, that cause the centinels were mostly close to he expected to be reprimanded, and that him where he lay, made him frequently he possibly might be calhiered. [138.] say, “I did hope for leave to sleep;

Soon after he had got on board, and and apprehend I might be sufficiently was in the cabin upon the quarterdeck, guarded and taken care of, without fo a member of the court-martial came out, frequent a repetition of this noisy cereand cold one of his relations, he had the mony close to my ear.” court's leave to inform him, they had At length the lieutenants of the ship found the Admiral capitally guilty; in had orders to watch in the great cabin, order that he might prepare him to re- relieving each other every four hours, as ceive the sentence. The gentleman is customary at sea; fo that there was went up to him immediately; bụt was always one of them in the cabin with so surprised, he could not tell how to in- him day and night; and the order to form him. The Admiral, observing his the centinels for calling out every five countenance, said to him, “ What is minutes was then omitted. the matter? have they broke me?" When Capt. Montague waited upon The gentleman hesitating in his reply, him, to inform him the warrant from with some confusion of countenance, he the admiralty was come, he received the added, “ Well, I understand. - If no news with the same cool composure that thing but my blood will satisfy, let them he had received the sentence. take it." Immediately after this, he The same gentleman waited upon him was sent for into court; where he con- again on the 27th of February, being tinued to be the only man that did not the day before that which was appointappear moved, while his sentence was ed for his execution, and, in Adm. Borreading by the judge-advocate ; and cawen's name, acquainted him that a rewent afhore afterwards with the same air spite was arrived for fourteen days. He and composure that he came on board. composedly desired his compliments to

A gentleman afterwards endeavoured Adm. Boscawen, with thanks for his into give him consolation, by representing telligence, without appearing in the to him, that a sentence without guilt smallest degree elevated, or even pleacould be no ftain, and that there was a fed beyond his usual. His friends, on great probability of a pardon. He re. that occasion, represented to him what plied, What will that fignify to me? had passed in the house of Commons; What satisfaction can I receive from the magnified and dwelt upon every favourliberty to crawl a few years longer on able circumstance; and, giving themthe earth, with the infamous load of a felves up to joy, congratulated him on pardon at my back? I despise life on the certainty of an honourable pardon, such terms, and would rather have them which they imagined must follow. He take it."

calmly replied, " I am glad you think Some days after the sentence was paff- fo, because it makes you easy and haped, he was conveyed on board the Mo- py: but I think it is now become an af

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

fair merely political, without any far. In the forenoon he heard prayers read ther relation to right or wrong, justice by the chaplain of the Monarque, and or injustice ; and therefore I differ in o- received the sacrament in a very decent pinion from you."

devout manner, with some of his rela. Divine service was performed for him tions and friends. every morning, and the rest of the day At dinner he was chearful as usual, he spent in chearful conversation, and very politely helped his friends, and the adjustment of family-affairs. drank their healths; but did not fit long

On Saturday, March 12. in the even at table. He continued uneasy about ing, when his friends were going on the place of execution: and perceiving fhore as usual, he took leave of his two his friends avoided the subject, “ I like nephews in a tender manner, and desi- to talk upon the subject," said he. “ It red they would not come on board to is not to be supposed I do not think of him again, left any immoderate grief in it; why then should it be more improthem should foften him.

per to talk of it?” On Sunday morning Capt. Montague, He frequently observed how the wind having received a warrant from Adm. was; and wished it might continue Boscawen for his execution the next day, westerly long enough for the members gave it to the Marshal to read to him; of his court-martial, who were upon the which he calmly heard read over, and point of sailing, to be present at the time then remarked, with some warmth, that the sentence passed upon him was put in the plaee appointed by the warrant was execution. upon the forecastle.

• Is not this,' About fix he ordered tea, as usual, for said he, addresling himself to his friends, himself and his company; and remark

putting me upon the footing of a ing that his friends took notice of his common seaman, condemned to be shot? eafy manner and conversation, he deIs not this an indignity to my birth, to clared it to be owing to his having no my family, and to my rank in the ser remorse for any transaction in his public vice? I think I have not been treated character, however he might be subject like an officer in any instance since I was to private and personal frailties. He disgraced, except in that of being or- pleased himself with hopes that the world dered to be shot.” He appeared much would not consider him as the mean dedisturbed at this circumstance, and look- spicable coward bis enemies had repreed upon it as a grievance. His friends, sented him, as the court-martial had acfearing it could not be altered, because quitted him of every thing ignominious. the warrant was expressly worded so, In the evening, his friends, defirous represented to him, that it appeared to to be with him a little longer for the them an impropriety; but they hoped he last night than had been permitted bewould think the place immaterial, a cir- fore, sent to Adm. Boscawen, request. cumstance beneath his notice, and not ing that indulgence; which was grantlet any such confideration break in upon ed for as long as they pleased: but he his tranquillity of mind. He then com- himself desired they would not exceed posed himself again, and replied, " It the hour of eight, being then about seis very true, the place or manner is of no He then ordered a small bowl of great importance to me; but I think li- punch to be made; helped every one, ving admirals should consult the dignity and taking his own glass with a little of the rank, for their own fakes. I can- punch in it, My friends," said he, not plead a precedent; there is no pre “ here is all your healths, and God cedent of an admiral, or a general offi- bless you all : I am pleased to find that cer in the army, being shot. They make I have some friends still, notwithstand. a precedent of me, such as admirals ing my misfortunes." When he had hereafter may feel the effects of.” But, drank, and set his glass down, he aud. on the remonftrances of his friends, he ed, “I am to die to-morrow; and as again composed himself, and appeared my country requires my blood, I am in a little time perfectly calm.



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ready to resign it, though I do not as found him both times in a profound yet know what my crime is.” He with sleep. He arose, according to his cu. ed his judges had been more explicit, in ftom, early in the morning, about five : justice to all future officers, fearing that and seeing the marshal, about fix, no admiral will be wiser from the fen. Well," said he, Marshal, I think tence passed on him: he added, that he I have beat you at rising this morning." was supposed not to have affifted the Soon after, when he was shifting, as he van; but he insisted upon the merit of did constantly every morning betimes, relieving the three disabled fhips, which “ Here," said he to his valet, " take were indeed fired upon, but it does not these sleeve-buttons, and wear them for appear that a single man was killed on my fake; yours will do to be buried board of them when the enemy paffed. with." Having directed that he should “ There is,” said the Admiral," but be put into his coffin with his cloaths as one witness who says they received da. he died; recollecting himself, he added, mage at that time. May not that one “ But hold, as these buttons are gold, witness be mistaken, who was on board my giving them to you may be doubted, the ship considerably the fartheit remo. and you may be drawn into a scrape.” ved from the enemy of the three, and He spent a confiderable part of the who had dropt there out of her station, morning in the state-room by himfelf: by being disabled before? And why did then came out, and sat down with the the enemy bear away from these thips, marshal, and breakfafted composedly, if it was not because my division was as usual. His dress was a plain cloth ander sail close after them in a regular fuit, a light gray mixture, such as he line of battle?”

had always wore after he received his The time appointed for his friends to order of suspenfion in Gibraltar bay; go ashore drawing near, he got up, and having stripped off his uniform, which withdrew into the state-room with one he immediately threw into the sea, as of them at a time; and thanking each foon as he had read that order. in a very pathetic manner for their acts At nine, when his friends came on of friendship and services, he embraced board; being informed that the quarterthem in order to take a lait farewel. But deck was now the place appointed for they intreating leave to pay their last re. his execution, in consideration of his spects and services to him in the morn- rank, he was greatly pleased at it. He ing, he consented. One of them ob then spoke about an erasement in his serving the Admiral foftened into tears will, which he had recollected; menupon the occafion, said to him, " Pray, tioning the sheet, the number of the Sir, don't fuffer yourself to be discom- line from the top, and the words erased. posed." He replied, “ I have not a He then chought prope: to sign a paper, heart of stone: I am a man, and must specifying this particular, and three of feel at parting with my friends ; but you his friends were witnesses to it. This will not see me discomposed lo-morrow.” done, the morning-service was performHereupon his friends went on fhore; ed by the chaplain of the Monarque, and one of them waited on Adm. Bof- and the rest of the morning he spent in cawen, to beg that the place of execu. walking across the cabin, and convertion might be changed from the fore. fing fometimes with one friend and somecastle to the quarterdeck; which was times with another. done accordingly;

He had always declared, that he It is remarkable, that the officers, would die with his face uncovered, and who at twelve at night, and at four in would give the word of command, say. the morning, were relieved from watch- ing, “ As it is my fate, I can look at it, ing in his cabin, when they went to and receive it.” His friends unanimously Thew that he was in the state-room to endeavoured to dissuade him from it ; fretheir successors, feldom found him a- quently half gained his consent to have wake; and that this last night they his face covered, and he as frequently



retracted, and said, “No—it cannot be viewed several of them; and perceiving

I cannot bear it--I must look, and many boats from the shore, as well as receive my fate.” But by representing the ship-boats, and the decks, shrouds, to him, that it was impossible the marines and yards, of all the ships that lay near, could receive the word of command from covered with men, said he, him, or see him looking at them, with. is strong; -it draws a great number of out being intimidated; by hinting that people together ;- but their curiosity he might be wounded only, and mangled; will be disappointed :- where they are, and by adding every sort of argument, they may hear, but they cannot see.” he at last consented to have a bandage o. A gentleman said to him, “ To see ver his eyes, and to make a signal by you so easy and composed, Sir, gives dropping a handkerchief, though with me as much pleasure as I can have on very great relactance : “ If it must be so," this occasion ; but I expected no less faid he, “and you infift; it must be so." from the whole of your conduct hereto

He then desired to be made acquaint- fore, and the last actions of a man mark ed with all the particulars of the form, his character more than all the actions that he might make no mistake; telling of his life."-"I am sensible they do, his friends, that he had never been pre- Sir,”' replied he, “ and obliged to you sent at such a ceremony himself; propo- for putting me in mind. I find innofed pulling off his coát; and when one cence is the best foundation for firmness of his friends informed him, that was of mind.” quite unneceflary, " But,” said he, “it After that he walked about in the ca. may be said I kept my coat on as if a- bin for some time; inquired what time fraid to receive the blow, or feel the bul- it would be high-water ; remarked that lets." No," answered the gentle. the tide would not suit to carry his body man, “ such a remark can never be ashore after dark; and expressed some made; and it must be more decent to apprehensions, that his body might be make no alteration in dress.”. “Well insulted going ashore in the day, on acthen,” replied he, “if it is more de- count of the prejudices of the people : cent, no alteration shall be made." but on being assured that no such fpirit

The marines were all drawn up under was remaining among the people at arms, upon the poop, along the gang- Portsmouth, he appeared very well faways

in the waift, and on one side of the tisfied on that head. Then taking a quarterdeck. On the other side of the paper out of his pocket, he addressed quarterdeck was thrown a heap of faw- himself to the Marshal as follows. duft, and a cushion placed upon it; and “ Sir, These are my thoughts on this in the middle, upon the gratings, a pla- occasion; I shall give them to you, that toon, consisting of nine marines, to you may authenticate them, and prevent whom he made a present of ten guineas, any thing spurious being published, that were drawn up in three lines, three in might tend to defame me.

I have gieach. The two foremost lines, intendo ven a copy to one of my relations." ed to fire, had their bayonets fixed, as is cuftomary on such occasions.

The paper was wrote in his own hand,

and contained as follows. The captains of all the ships in Portfmouth harbour, and at Spithead, were A ordered to attend with their boats ; but from the virulent persecutions, and lay abreast upon their oars, without co. frustrate the farther malice of my eneming on board, to avoid the inconve. mies. Nor need I envy them a life subnience of so great a croud as that would ject to the sensations my injuries and the have occafioned.

injustice done me must create.

Persua. The Admiral, about eleven, as he ded I am, justice will be done to my walked across the cabin, observing the reputation hereafter. The manner croud of boats out of one of the side ca- and cause of raising and keeping up the bin-windows, took his fpying-glass, and popular clamour and prejudice against

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

me will be seen through. I shall be Admiral, opening the state-room door, considered (as I now perceive myself) came out with a stately pace and coma victim, destined to divert the indigna. posed countenance. He made a bow to tion and resentment of an injured and his friends in the cabin ; and speaking deluded people from the proper objects. to the Marshal, “Come along,” said he, My enemies themselves must now think my friend ;” and walked out upon me innocent. Happy for me, at this the quarter-deck. Then turning to the my last moment, that I know my own Marshal, with an easy bow, he gave innocence, and am conscious that no him the paper containing as above, faypart of my country's misfortunes can be ing, Remember, Sir, what I have owing to me. I heartily with the shed- told you relating to this paper;" and ding of


contribute to the went to the cushion, and kneeled down. happiness and service of my country; One of his friends attended him to the but cannot resign my just claim to a cushion, and offered to tie the bandage faithful discharge of iny duty, according over his eyes; but having a white handto the best of my judgment, and the ut-kerchief ready folded in his hand, he most exertion of my ability, for his Ma- replied, with a smile on his countenance, jeity's honour, and my country's service. "I am obliged to you, Sir;- I thank I am sorry that my endeavours were not God, I can do it myself:- I think I attended with more success, and that can:- I am sure I can;" and ried it the armament under my command pro. behind his head himself. Then taking ved too weak to succeed in an expedition the gentleman by the hand, " God bless of such moment,

you, my friend," said he," don't stay Truth has prevailed over calumny longer here ; they may shoot you. and falsehood, and justice has wiped off The marines, in the mean time, adthe ignominious stain of my supposed vanced about two paces; and, as soon want of personal courage, or disaffec- as the gentleman retired, presented their tion. My heart acquits me of these pieces ; the first line kneeling, their bay. crimes. But who can be presumptuously onets about half a yard from his breast; fure of his own judgment! if my crime the second stooping, and close to the is an error in judgment, or differing in first; the third line ftanding upright, opinion from my judges : --- and if yet were appointed a reserve, in case any the error of judgment should be on their life should remain after the two firft had fide, God forgive them, as I do; and fired. The Admiral continued upon may the distress of their minds, and un- his knees something more than a mi. easiness of their consciences, which in nute, appearing very composed, and to justice to me they have represented, be be making an ejaculation; and then relieved, and subside, as my resentment dropped his handkerchief

, the signal ahas done,

greed upon. The platoon immediately The fupreme Judge sees all hearts and fired: one missed, four passed through motives; and to him I must submit the different parts of his breast, and one joftice of my cause.


through his heart, and he sunk down On board bis Majesty's flip Mo

motionless, gently falling on his fide, as

if ftill studious to preserve decency and narque, in Portsmouth har. bour, March 14. 1757

dignity in his fall.

As soon as his body was cold, it was Soon after he had spoke, an officer put into his coffin, and sent on shore to came to the cabin-door, and in a low the dock-yard in the evening ; from voice inforined one of his friends the whence it has been since removed to the hour of twelve was drawing near. He family burying-place at South-hill in overhearing, replied, “It is very well;" Bedfordshire. On his coffin was the fol. and retired into the state-room for about lowing plain inscription : tbree minutes. In the mean time the The Hon. John BYNG, Esqi cabin.doors were thrown open ; and the

died March 14. 1757


« ZurückWeiter »