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An account of the trial of Adm. Byng. therein seems so little agreeable to our
and whereas his proceeding Taken from the trial published by order of instructions, that it demands the strictest the Lords of the Admiralty.
examination into his conduct and behaHE court-martial (the members viour by a court-martial, and that he
as inserted above, p. 45.) affemfrould be tried for the same: these are bled on board the St George, in Portf. therefore in his Majesty's name to will mouth harbour, Dec. 28. 1756. and require you to repair on board his
Adm. Byng being brought in, the or. Majesty's fhip Antelope, at Spithead, der for the trial was read, as follows.
and take into your custody the per
son of the said Adm. Byng, and safeBy the commissioners for executing the office ly keep him, till delivered by due course of Lord High Admiral of G. Britain
of law :" and Ireland, &c.
And whereas we did also issue another W!
Hereas the King's pleasure was sig. warrant to the said marshal, dated the
nised to us, by letter dated the 31st of the same month, to the follow4th of June laft, from Mr Fox, one of ing purport, to wit, his Majesty's principal secretaries of “ These are, in his Majesty's name, ftate, that directions should be given to to will and require you, to detain in Sir Edward Hawke to repair without your custody the person of the Hon. loss of time to the Mediterranean, to John Byng, Esq; Admiral of the Blue relieve Adm. Byng in the command of squadron of his Majesty's fleet, (alreahis Majesty's ships there, and by ano- dy committed to your custody by a forther lecter, of the 29th of the same mer warrant under our hands and the month, from Mr Fox, the King's fur. seal of the office of admiralty); for that ther pleasure was signified, that Admiral he the said John Byng having the comByng should be put immediately under mand of his Majesty's fleet in the Mediarrelt, in order that he might be brought terranean, during the engagement beto bis trial: And whereas, upon Mr tween his Majesty's faid Aleet' and the Þyng's arrival in England, a warrant fleet of the French King on the 20th of was issued from us to the marsal of the May last, did withdraw or keep back, high court of admiralty, dated the 27th and did not do his utmost to take, seize, July last , containing as follows, to wit
, and destroy the ships of the French “ Whereas the Hon. John Byng, Ad. King, which it was his duty to have miral of the Blue squadron of his Maje. engaged; and to affist fuch of his Majefty's fleet, failed from England in April fty's hips as were engaged in fight with last
, with a squadron of his Majesty's the French ships, which it was his duty fhips under his command, for the Me- to have aliifted ; and for that he the said diterranean, under our orders to proceed John Byng did not do his utmost to reto Minorca, and if he should find any lieve St Philip's castle, in his Majesty's attack made upon that island by the island of Minorca, then besieged by the French, to use all poffible means in his forces of the French King, but acted power for its relief; and whereas the contrary to, and in breach of his Majesaid Adm. Byng, by his letter to our se- fty's command; and him, the said John cretary, dated the 25th of May lait, Byng, you are safely to keep until he gave us an account of his getting off shall be delivered by due course of law:" Mahon on the 19th of that month, with And whereas it appears highly fitting, his squadron, consisting of thirteen ships as well in regard to the public and the of the line, besides frigates ; engaging a party accused, as to the officers who French squadron on the poth, consisting have been sent for home as witnesses upof twelve ships of the line, besides fri- on this occasion, that a court-martial gates; and that he was making the best should be assembled as soon as conveni. of his way back to Gibraltar on the 25th, ently may be, to inquire into the conleaving the French squadron before Mi- duct and behaviour of the said Adm.
herewith a copy
John Byng, as before recited, from the
Upon your arrival there, you are to warrants of his commitment and detain. inquire, whether any French squadron er, and to try him for the same; we send is come through the Streights; and if you
of our instructions there is, to inform yourself as well as to the said Adm. Byng, dated the 30th possible, of their number and force, of March 1756, for his proceeding with and if any part of them were transa squadron of his Majesty's ships to the pores : and as it is probable they may Mediterranean; and also of an order to be designed for North America, and as him, dated the 31st of March 1756; his Majesty's ships named in the marand likewise two original letters from gin t are either at or going to Hali. Adm. Byng to our secretary, one dated fax, and are to cruise off Louisburg and the 4th of May last, the other the 25th the mouth of the gulf of St Lawrence, of the same month, containing accounts you are immediately to take the soldiers of his proceedings; and also the feve. out of so many ships of your fquadron, ral papers transmitted with those letters; as, together with the ships at and going and you are hereby required and direct. to Halifax, will make a force superior ed to assemble a court martial, who are to the said French squadron, (replacing to proceed to an inquiry into the before. them with landmen or ordinary seamen recited conduct and behaviour of the said from your other ships), and then detach Adm. John Byng, and to try him for them under the command of Rear-Adm. the same. Given under our hands this Weft, directing him to make the best of 14th day of December 1756. his way off Louisburg, and taking the [Signed,] Temple. Ed. Bofcawen. Gilb. aforementioned ships, which he may Elliot. J. Forbes.- [Addressed,] To Tho- expect to find there, under his command, mas Smith, Esq; Vice- Admiral of the Red, to cruise off the said place, and the en&c. at Portsmouth.
trance of the gulf of St Lawrence, and
use his utmost endeavours to intercept The instructions, order, and two let. and seize the aforesaid French ships, or ters., with several inclosures, were then any other ships belonging to the French, read, as follows.
that may be bound to or returning from Infiructions for the Hon. Jobn Byng, Ad. that part of North America.
miral of the Blue Squadron of his Maje- If upon your arrival at Gibraltar, you Ay's fleet.
shall not gain intelligence of a French W!
Hereas the King's pleasure_has squadron having passed the Streights,
been fignified to us by Mr Fox, you are then to go on, without a moone of his principal secretaries of state, in consequence of such intelligence, you
ment's loss of time, to Minorca ; or if, that, upon consideration of the several
shall detach Rear-Adm. West as before advices which have been received, rela. ting to the supposed intention of the directed, you are to use equal expedition French to attack the island of Minorca,
in repairing thither with the ships which a squadron of ten ships of the line do
shall remain with you; and if you find forthwith fail for the Mediterranean, any attack made upon that ifland by the under your command; and whereas we
French, you are to use all possible means in
your power for its relief. If you find have appointed the ships named in the margin* for this service; you are here. no such attack made, you are to proby required and directed immediately dron in the best manner you shall be a
ceed off Toulon, and station your squato put to sea, with such of them as are ready, (leaving orders for the rest to
ble, for preventing any French fhips follow you as soon as possible), and pro
getting out of that port, or for interceptceed with the utmost expedition to Gib. ing and seizing any that may get out ; raltar.
and you are to exert the utmost vigilance 2. Ramillies. 3. Revenge. 4. Kingston
4. Nottingham. 4. Norwich.
6. Success. 3. Buckingham Lancaster.
Sterling castle. Litchfield.
Vultur sloop. Trident.
Centurion. Captain. Intrepid.
† 3. Grafton.
therein, and in protecting Minorca and of March 1956.-[Signed,] Anfon. Gibraltar from any hostile attempt. Thomas Villiers. William Rowley. Ed.
You are also to be very vigilant for ward Bofcawen. Bateman. Richard Edgprotecting the trade of his Majesty's sub- ' cumbe. jects from being molested, either by the French, or by cruisers from Morocco, By the commissioners for executing the ofor any other of the Barbary states; and
fice of Lord High Admiral of Great Bri. for that purpose to appoint proper con
tain and Ireland, &c. voys and cruisers.
WHereas the King has been pleased You are likewise to be as attentive as
to direct, that the royal regiment poflible to the intercepting and leizing, of fufileers, commanded by Lord Roas well Tips of war and privateers, as
bert Bercie, should serve on board his merchant ihips belonging to the French, Majesty's ships in the Mediterranean; where-ever they may be met with, with and that the said regiment should be in the limits of your command. But, in landed at Minorca, in case the Goverpursuance of the King's order in coun
nor or commander in chief of that island cil, you are not to suffer any of the shall think it necessary for its defence; fhips in your squadron to take any French and the Governor of Gibraltar having vessels out of any port belonging to the orders, in case a farther reinforcement Ottoman empire, upon any pretence;
shall be necessary at Minorca, make nor to molest, detain, or imprison the a detachment equal to a battalion from persons of any of the subjects of the Ot. his garrison, which detachment the Ad. toman empire; and also, not to seize miral or commander in chief of his and detain any French ship or veffel Majesty's ships in the Mediterranean whatsoever which they shall meet with is to convey to Minorca, on board the in the Levant seas, bound from one
men of war, or such transport vessels : port to another in those seas, or to or
as he shall be able to provide for that from any ports of Egypt, having any purpose : we do, in pursuance of his Maeffects of Turks on board.
jesty's pleasure, fignified to us by Mr Upon your arrival in the Mediterra. Fox, one of his principal secretaries of nean, you are to take under your com
state, hereby require and direct you, to mand his Majesty's ships and vessels na. pay due obedience to his Majesty's a. med in the margin *, which are at pre- Robert Bertie's regiment, in case the
foresaid directions, by, landing Lord sent there. If any French ships of war should fail
island of Minorca Mall be attacked, and from Toulon, and escape your fqua- upon confultation with the Governor dron, and proceed out of the Mediter. the same shall appear to be necessary : ranean, you are forthwith to fend, or and you are not to confine yourself to repair yourself to England, with a pro- the landing that regiment only, but al. portionable part of the ships under your men from your squadron as may be fer
and command; observing, that you are never to keep more ships in the Mediter- viceable, and the ships can posibly ranean than shall be necessary for exe- spare : you are likewise to pay due recuting the services recommended to you. gard to his Majesty's aforesaid pleasure, To enable you the better to perform
in relation to the transporting a battathe aforementioned services, you are to
lion from Gibraltar to Minorca. Given take care to keep the ships and vessels under our hands the 31st of March 1756. under your command in constant good [Signed,] Anson. T. Villiers. W. condition, and to have them cleaned as Rozvley.- [Addressed,] To the Hon. Adm. often as shall be requisite for that pur. Byng, at Spithead.
ose. Given under our hands the 30th (Our readers have already seen Adm. Byng's * Princess Louisa. Chesterfield. Experiment.
letters of May 4. & 25. 1756. [xviii. 294.497; Portland. Dolphin. Fortune Noop
498.). — After these letters the papers inclosed Deptford.
in them were read, viz.]
Opinion of the engineer in regard to throw- the fied within the New Mole gates
ing succours into the castle of St Philip's. that was used for repairing fails in, like. Dated Gibraltar, May 3. 1756.
wise the thed for the use of the artifiHAving considered the question, Whe. cers, are both decayed and tumbling
ther it is practicable to throw in down. succours into St Philip's castle, suppo
We likewise take the liberty of laying sing the enemy to have erected batte. before you an account of what stores ries on the two fhores near the entrance there is few or none of in his Majesty's of the harbour ? an advantage scarce to magazines, but may be purchased here, be supposed they have neglected: we
viz. are humbly of opinion, that unless those Brushes large, tar, twine, glass watch, batteries can be silenced, it will be ex. half ditto, half ditto, locks hanging, tremely dangerous, if not impracticable; hand lanterns, tin plates double, tin as the sally-ports by which the succours plates single, kersey, fearnought, brooms, must enter, according to the best of our pitch, rofin, tallow, tar, keelers, fhorecollection, are so entirely exposed, that vels, coals. We are, &c. - [Signed,] their guns may destroy any boats em- 7. Blanckley. Milbourne. Marfh. [Ad. ployed on that attempt: and we humbly dressed,] To the Hon. John Byng, Eja; apprehend, that but one boat at a time Copy of the result of a council of war held can, with difficulty, land men at the by Gen. Fowke, at Gibraltar, with renearest fally-port; and the other lying gard to imbarking a detachment on board farther up the harbour, is more exposed. the fieet.
-Signed,] 4. Mace, Majar of Artillery. Alexander Leith, Captain of Ar ATa council of war held at Gibraltar,
on Tuesday, May 4. 1756.- Pretillery. Archibald Patoun, Engineer. fent, Lt-Gen. Fowke, Governor of GibA general list of ships of war at Toulon, raltar, Hon. Maj.-Gen. Stuart, Hon. Sept. 3. 1755.
Col. Cornwallis, Rt Hon. Col. Earl of [This list consists of the names of twenty-nine Effingham, Rt Hon. Col. Lord Robert war fhips and frigates, and the number of guns Bertie, Col. Duffaux, Lt-Col. Grey, în cach, then on the stocks at Toulon; from a Lt-Col. Colvill, Le-Col. Crawfurd, Ltmong which the fleet commanded by M. Galif
Col. Scott. soniere May 20. 1756, were taken. Of those Thips, two were of 80 guns, fix of 74, nine of
The council took into consideration 04, one of 56, two of 50, one of 38, two of 30, three letters from Lord Barrington, his three of 26, two of 24, and one of 20.] Majesty's secretary at war, to the GoCopy of a letter from the forekeeper, and vernor of Gibraltar, of the 21st and
mafter ship-wright of Gibraltar. Da. 28th of March, and ift of April laft, as ted, Gibraltar, May 4. 1756.
also an order from the Lords of the Ad. Honourable SIR,
miralty to the Hon. Adm. Byng of the We pray leave to lay before you the 31st of March laft : of which the followftate and condition of the careen
ing are copies : ing wharf and storehouses at the New SIR, War-office, March 21. 1756. Mole.
One of the pits is entirely de. His Majesty hath been pleased to orcayed, and the other wants repair ; the
der the royal regiment of fufileers çapstons, partners, and frames, entirely to imbark immediately for Gibraltar, decayed ; the masthouse, boathouse, and that upon their arrival a detachment pitch-house, smith's shop, and cable be made from the four regiments now med, all decayed, and tumbling down; in the garrison under your command, the yard lawnch wants a thorough re: and imbark for Minorca. pair ; and in case there may be a neces- I am to fignify to you it is his Ma. sity to careen or caulk any of his Ma- jesty's pleasure, that upon the arrival of jesty's ships, there is neither floating. the royal regiment of fusileers before itages for that service, or boat for the Gibraltar, you do cause them (with the officers to attend their respective duties; recruits for corps in your garrifon) to
difimbark, and be quartered in the gar- And it appearing from advices recei. rison under your command : and upon ved by Adm. Byng and Lt-Gen. Fowke, the difimbarking of the said regiment, that on the 18th of April last the French it is his Majesty's further pleasure, that forces were landed on the island of Mi. you cause a detachment, consisting of norca, consisting of a number of men á lieutenant-colonel, major, commission, from 13 to 15,000, and that his Manon-commission officers and private men, jesty's troops on the island had retired
equal to a battalion of foot on the pre- into the fortifications of St Philip's castle ; = fent British establishment, to be made the council also took into consideration
from the said four regiments, and im- the situation of his Majesty's garrisons ..
bark on board his Majesty's fhips of and forces in the Mediterranean; and war for Minorca; the lieutenant-colo- are humbly of opinion, that the fending
nel and major to be the eldest of their a detachment equal to a battalion would ES rank in the garrison under your com- evidently weaken the garrison of Gib
mand. I am, &C. [Signed,] Bar. raltar, and be no way effeétual to the rington-[Addressed,] Tölt-Gen. Fowke, relief of Minorca, for the following or officer commanding the garrison of Gib. reasons. raltar,
I. Because by the opinion of the chief SIR, War-office, March 28. 1756. ved in that island), and that of other of
engineer of this garrison, (who has ferI
Am commanded by his Majesty to ac- ficers of the artillery acquainted with
quaint you, in case the island of Minor- the situation of that'harbour, it would
ca should be in any likelihood of being be difficult, if not impossible, to throw E! attacked, that it is his pleasure you cause in any fuccours; and could they be
a detachment equal to a battalion on the thrown in, would be ineffectual, as the present British establifhment to be made council do not conceive any hopes of from the regiments under your com, introducing a body of men sufficient to mand in the garrison of Gibraltar, and dislodge the French, or raise the fiege ; imbark on board such of his Majesty's and therefore, though such a detachfhips of war as Adm. Byng, or the ad- ment from this garrison might have been miral commanding in chief his Majesty's of great service in Minorca, could they fleet in the Mediterranean, shall think have been landed before the island was expedient, and will carry to the relief actually attacked, and whillt a squadron of the said island. I am, &c:-[Signed of his Majesty's fleet had been there to and addressed as the preceding letter.]
co-operate with the troops in the defence War-ofice, April 1. 1756. and preservation of the island, (and which I Am commanded to fignify to you, it seems to be the scope and meaning of
is his Majesty's pleasure, that you re- the recited letters and order); yet, in ceive into the garrison under your com- the present situation of affairs, it is the mand at Gibraltar, fuch women and opinion of the council, that the sending children belonging to the royal regiment such a detachment from hence to Mio of fusileers, as Adm. Byng, or the com
norca at this time, instead of being usemander in chief of his Majesty's ships ful to his Majesty's service, will be diin the Mediterranean, thall think fit to minishing the itrength of the garrison of land there. I am, &c.-[Signed and Gibraltar, and unneceffarily risking the addressed as the preceding letters.]
loss of an additional number of his Ma[The admiralty-order, of March 31. 1756, to jesty's troops, without any reasonable Adm. Byng, is already inserted, p. 85.
prospect or hope of their being of any We were told, in the Gentleman's, the Lone affittance to Minorca. don, and the Literary Magazines, whence our II. Because the Toulon squadron, by account of Gen. Fowke's trial [xviii. 492, 63.] the best accounts the council have rewas taken, that there were some errors in that account, particularly in what related to the len- ceived, is at least equal in force, if not
The several papers here inserted, are superior to that under the command of a rectification in part of that account)
Adm. Byng; and should the Britith fleet