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II. The evidence against the Admiral rear would not have been so near the emay be reduced to the following parti- nemy as the van in equal time, suppoculars.
fing the distance at first to have been the 1. If the Admiral had taken the men fame. on board, that were ordered to be ship 12. The Admiral, while he was yet at ped at Gibraltar, and landed them at a great distance from the enemy, began St Philip's, the place might have held to fire; and the men were obliged to lower out till the arrival of Adm. Hawke. the metal, and fire at an elevation; for
2. If he had landed the officers and not being in point-blank distance, the recruits, to the number of about 100, shot would, if fired horizontally, have which he had on board, it would have drooped, and took the water before it been a signal service to the garrison. reached the enemy's fhip.
3. The men might have been landed 13. While he was thus firing to no at any time during the fiege with great effect, at more than half a mile distance ease, and little hazard.
from the enemy, he ordered his fails to 4. No attempt was made to land these be laid aback, and made a signal for officers and recruits.
the ships aftern of him to shorten sail. 5. If each ihip had made fail in pro 14. It was near twenty minutes after portion to her distance from the ship she this when he first made fail again with was to engage, all would have engaged his division; and the French having nearly at the same time, and the en- filled and stood on, soon after his laying gagement would have become general his fails aback, i. e. within about forty during the time the French lay to. minutes after the fignal to engage, he
6. The wind and weather was such never afterwards engaged them at all. as admitted each fhip’s making sail in 15, When the French centre and rear proportion to her distance from the ene were observed to outsail us, no signal or my; and if they had done so, the line example was given to croud fail, and might have been kept as well as with close with the van, without regard to the fail they made.
order of battle; though if this had been 7. When the signal to engage was done, he might have prevented the damade, the van bore right down upon mage that was sustained from the fire of the French van, and their whole fleet the French ships as they came up. was then lying to, waiting to receive us. 16. He did not make the general sig.
8. The rear did not bear right down nal to chase after the engagement. on the enemy, but flanting; and soon 17. He did not return off Mahon, nor after the signal to engage was made, the make any farther attempt to assist the Admiral, seeing that the Louisa and castle of St Philip. Trident, the ships next ahead of him, III. The evidence tending to justify did not make fail, attempted to back these facts, or controvert them in favour his main and mizen topsails, and hauled of the Admiral, may be reduced to the up the forefail, to give time for them to following articles, answering the articles get into their station.
of the charge. 9. The fail made by the van carried 1. The Admiral was not answerable them about three knots an hour, but for not taking the men on board from they might have made such sail as would Gibraltar, but the commanding officer have carried them fix.
of the garrison, who refused to send them 10. The rear, though they were three on board. times the distance from the ships they 2. It would have been imprudent in were to engage, yet made no more fail the highest degree, to have attempted than the van; consequently must have to land these men after the French Aeet been three times as long in coming e was discovered, and it was a right meaqually near to them.
fure immediately to call all the frigates 11. As the van went right down, and and cruisers in. the rear flanting with the fame fail, the 3• 4. It is granted that men might
have been landed; but this does not af. the van engaged, was not forty mifect Mr Byng, because he had no op- nutes; and when he was impeded by an portunity to attempt it; neither could accident, he would have been very near these men have done more service in the the enemy in a very short time without garrison than they did on board the fleet, altering his course, or making more fail. which
the whole was short of com 12. The people on board the Ramilplement, and had many sick and unskil- lies began to fire without orders, but not ful hands.
till a quarter of an hour after the enemy 5. 6. It is granted, that if each ship had ftruck her with their shot; and had failed in proportion to her distance the metal was lowered because the ship from the ship she was to engage, a ge- was borne down a little on that fide, neral
engagement would have been and therefore it was necessary to lower brought on while the French lay to; the metal to bring the guns parallel with and that the wind and weather permit. the horizon. ted such fail to be made. But as the e. 13. That the Admiral, when he was nemy was lying to, the fail which the yet at too great a distance properly to Admiral did make was the most proper engage, laid his fails
aback, is true ; but upon the whole : for the sail he made this was made necessary by an accident, was a signal, what fail the other ships and the concurrence of many circumhould go down with ; and a croud of stances with it. The signal for the line fail would have been attended with great of battle ahead was continued the whole disadvantages and hazard. Besides, day, because it was thought most adthere was the greatest reason to suppose vantageous to preserve that order duthe French would continue to lie to, as ring the action, as that was the order they were then known to be at least e. in which the enemy lay to, at least till qual to us; and if they had continued some rising circumstances made a diffeto lie to, the Admiral would, by the rent signal necessary. course and fail he made, have brought When the Intrepide, the sternmost their centre and rear to action, so as ef. fhip of the van division, was disabled, fectually to have fuccoured his van; nay the Revenge, which was the headmoft he would have done so if no impedi- ship of the rear division, came close up ment had happened while they did lie to her ; but could not pass her, because
the signal for the line of battle ahead re7. The van went right down because quired him to keep his station behind her. they were not aftern of the enemy. For the same reasons the ships next
8. The rear did not bear right down, aftern of the Revenge, which were the because they were altern of the enemy; Louisa and the Trident, were obliged and if they had borne right down, they to shorten sail, as they must otherwise would have left the enemy ahead; be have passed the Revenge and Intrepide, fides, in going right down, the vessels which would have broke the line, and are exposed to be raked by the enemy, carried them out of their station. and a risk is run of being beaten before In the mean time the people on board it is possible to engage ; lo that the rear the Admiral's fhip, which was next a. went down properly both as to course stern of the Trident, had begun to fire ; and fail. And though the Admiral and the smoke preventing the Admiral might have left the Louisa and Trident from seeing what had happened to the instead of shortening fail for them, yet Intrepide, he made no signal for her to in that case he must have gone down quit the line. Being prevented also by without his force.
the smoke from seeing that the Trident 9. 10. 11. These articles, granting had laid her fails aback, he continued the facts, are all answered in the an- his course till he brought her under his swers to articles 5. & 6.: but the differ- lee bow. This situation of the Trident ence between the time when the Admi- made it necessary for the Admiral to ral began to engage, and the time when suspend his fire, otherwise he must have
fired into her; it also became necessary altogether fufficient, where the candoar that he should lay his fails aback, and and capacity of my judges will, I am make the signal for those aftern of him perfuaded, supply any defects and omisto do the same, or else he would have fions which may proceed from my
inad. been foul of the Trident, and the ships vertency or inexperience. aftern would have been foul of him. It It is my misfortune to have laboured is urged against him, that he might under the disadvantage of a popular, have kept clear of the Trident, by go- and almost national prejudice. For ing to leeward of her, without shortening what reasons this spirit has been raised, fail; but it is alledged in his defence, and by what means propagated, is that he could not do this immediately, not the business of this court to deterbecause he did not see her, and that, all mine; but I have the satisfaction to find circumstances considered, it was impor- the time arrived, when I have an opporfible for him to get clear of the Trident tunity of approving my innocence bewithout laying his fails aback.
fore judges whose integrity is above cor14. As soon as ever he was disenga. ruption, and when my prosecutors are ged from the Trident, he made fail, and persons (for such indeed are the present) ordered the ships aftern to do the same; who delire nothing more than equal and but was not afterwards able to engage impartial justice, and stand indifferent the enemy, as they outfailed him.
to my condemnation or acquittal. By 15. The Admiral, when he saw the this means I am at once secured from French going, did make a signal for being borne down by popular clamour, more sail; and it was not in his power or crushed beneath the weight of an overto join the van before the French had bearing power. got the length of them.
It has been said, and indeed very in. 16. He had not force fufficient to ju- duftriously echoed through the whole ftify making the general signal to chase, kingdom, That the loss of St Philip's which he lamented to those about him. castle was solely owing to my miscona
17. He did not return to Mahon, be. duct, and that Minorca might have cause he was not in a condition to come been relieved, if I had done my duty. to a second engagement ; and if the As this national calamity has been urged French had come back to us, we should in order to excite a national reproach aprobably have suffered a total defeat.
gainst me, I must beg leave, in the firft On the 18th of January the Admiral place, to refute this aspersion. And gave in his defence, in writing, as fol. jould this part of the accusation be once
clearly answered, and the prejudice relows.
moved, certain I am the charge of perGENTLEMEN,
fonal cowardice in the action will foon WHen I consider that the charge ex. yanish: for I am confident, had it not
hibited against me is of fo crimi- been convenient, nay I may say necesnal a nature, so copious in its circum- fary, for some persons to shelter themftances, and depends on such a multi- felves from the former part of the charge, plicity of facts, I cannot but be very no man living would ever have thought sensible of the inconvenience I labour of calling upon me for a justification under, in being, by the practice of with respect to the latter. courts-martial, denied the aid of coun It may seem somewhat fingular, that sel on this occafion; and this the rather being accused of two offences, one as I am so little versed in the method of whereof is capital, the other not; I defence, having, during the course of should appear more solicitous to acquit so long a service, never yet been redu- myself of that which is only a misde. ced to the necessity of studying it. What meanor, than of that which directly afI shall therefore now lay before this fects my
life. But how little regard focourt, will have nothing more than ever I may be represented to have had plain truth to support it; an advocate for my, honour, permit me to say, I ftill
retain fo just a sense of its value, as to rious, yet permit me to observe, that prefer death to the disgrace that ought the contrary was with an uncommon to attend the author of so inglorious strain of industry and confidence asserted. a calamity to his country. If then Nor indeed am I surprised at its gaining I can acquit myself of this imputation, an almost universal credit, when the ga. (which I am confident I can), I shall zette, a paper supposed to be published with spirit proceed to my defence against by authority, was prostituted to spread a the charge of cowardice, and treat it false list of the strength of both the fleets with the contempt it deserves. One fa. among the people, not only by undervaluvour I have to beg of the court, that the ing the enemy's force, of which it is poffitwo charges may be kept distinct, and ble the writer might be ignorant, but by by no means blended together; as the over-rating mine, in which it is imporfate of Minorca did not at all depend fible he should be innocent. [xviii. 295.] upon this backwardness (as it is called) I do not plead the superiority of the ein time of action.
nemy as a reason for not attacking them, The first, and what I think the prin. but only why such an attempt might cipal part of my defence, confifts in fa- not only possibly, but most probably, tisfying this court, that I did the utmost be unsuccessful ; since it is evident, that, in my power to relieve Minorca. - If notwithstanding my previous informain the course of this I should happen, tion of their strength, I did not hesitate from the necessity of self-defence, to to attack, and do the utmost in my glance fome blame upon others, I hope power to defeat them. And I have the to stand excused ; especially as my in: rather been induced to particularise this nocence in many respects is so intimate. circumstance, because you will find, ly connected with their neglect, that a by a letter to me from the admiralvindication of the one mult necessarily ty [xviii. 500.], that the only reason inforce an exposition of the other: A pretended for the dismission from my hard necessity, I must confefs, and im- command, was, retreating from an inposed upon me much against my inclina- ferior force. Now, instead of my retion ; since no man in my situation would treating from an inferior force, that a wish to'contend with such potent adver- fuperior force retreated from me, when faries. I desire not to become an accu. the fleet was unable to pursue, I shall fer : but if the loss of Minorca must be manifest beyond all contradiction; and imputed, either to me, or those who cannot help observing, that perhaps I fent me on the expedition, they who am the first instance of a commander in have so falsely fixed the imputation on chief whose disgrace proceeded from fo me, in order to protect themselves, can unfortunate a mistake. with little shew of justice complain of I would ask, With what view or in. my retorting a charge fo unjustly applied tention I was sent out on this expediBut to proceed :
tion ?- If it be answered, To protect In order to determine whether I did my or relieve Minorca, which is the seemutmoft on this occasion, I apprehend, ing language of my instructions; I would the confideration of what I could do again alk, Did those who sent me apshould be previous to any determination prehend that Minorca could be invaded of what I ought to have done. And before my arrival, and the descent co. give me leave to lay it down as an un. vered by a superior squadron, when deniable fact, and which I fall prove, they fent me out with fo inadequate a That the French feet was superior in force? --If they did, their conduct is the size of their ships, weight of me. injustifiable; if they did not, their igtal, and number of men [xviii. 499.], norance is inexcusable. besides their advantage in point of fail. This I presume is fumicient to unravel ing, which enabled them to fight or a- the political secret, why the enemy's void fighting as best suited their purpo force has been to industriously leffened, ses. Though this fact is now so noto- and mine fo extravagantly magnified;
when at the same time it is known to al. was the least intentional
inmost every man in the squadron I com- ftructions ? And if the admiralty had exmanded, that it consisted of several of pected an engagement, is it not to be the worst-conditioned ships, and mostly supposed they would have sent more the worst-manned, of any perhaps in his ships, as so many fine fhips, manned, or Majesty's navy
nearly so, then lay at Spithead; and I think I may venture to affirm, that would have afforded me the usual and it was not foreseen or expected that the necessary supply of fireships, tenders, fleet in the Mediterranean would come hospital and store ships ; instead of a. to action; since it will appear from my voiding any answer to my request, that very instructions themselves, that no a frigate might be added to my squasuch service was ever supposed probable, dron, to repeat fignals, in case of meetor that the enemy could have a force suf. ing with the enemy before I joined the ficient to venture an engagement at sea. ships then in the Mediterranean? But
In these [84.], you will find, I am indeed I was positively assured before ordered, if, on my arrival at Gibraltar, my departure, from the highest naval the French feet should have passed out of authority, that the enemy could not fit the Mediterranean, to send a detachment out more than six or seven ships of the under the command of Adm. Weft after line at most. them to North America. Can it be Under these unfavourable circumftanmeant, that I was to detach eight ships ces, without such intelligence of the eout of the ten? as no less would have nemy's force as could enable me to judge been necessary to insure success, and of it, determined to do my duty, I took make the superior force ordered in my the command of the squadron, such as instructions. Again, I am ordered, it was, many ships foul, and one in parwhen arrived at Minorca, to assist the ticular, viz. the Intrepide, reported ungarrison with Lord Robert Bertie's regi- fit for the voyage. With these I proment, and as many gunners and men as ceeded as expeditiously as possible : and I could spare out of the fleet. Does though it has been maliciously given out, not this suppose the sea to be open, and (yet not even pretended in my charge), the fleet unopposed ? or the order would that I loitered at Portsmouth, I shall probe absurd : for how could it be expect- duce several letters and orders which ed I should disarm the squadron, by will incontestably prove, that I depart. sending part of its proper complement ed thence the very first moment I was (which please to observe the fusileers enabled to fail. Why the admiralty were) on shore, when the whole was postponed this service to others, made too little to secure success at sea ? - me wait, and manned my ships the last, I am farther ordered, if Minorca was I must leave them to account for. not attacked, to block up Toulon. When arrived at Gibraltar, I received What! biock up a superior fleet with certain intelligence that a descent was an inferior?
And all this service, actually made on the island of Minorca, you will please to observe, was expect that the harbour and the whole island ed from a fleet, which when collected was in the enemy's possession, excepting was still inferior to the enemy's. I say the castle of St Philip, which was then collected, because, as the island was besieged by a very confiderable force at actually attacked, it is indisputable the land, and the fiege covered by a strong ships then at Mahon might have been squadron at sea superior to mine. Every blocked up, and taken or destroyed by person there concluded the place loft, the enemy; as they did not quit the and all relief impracticable ; and the enharbour until two days after the French gineers were of opinion [86.], that it had arrived off the island, and part of was absolutely impossible to land men, their troops were landed in the neigh- even if the sea had been open, and the bourhood of Mahon.
enemy had erected batteries on the two Does not all this evince, that fighting fores near the entrance of the harbour.