THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE COURT-MARTIAL ON THE TRIAL OF Admiral BYNG, Held on Board his Majesty's Ship St. George, in Portsmouth Harbour; begun December 27, 1756, and continued till January 27, 1757.

CONTAINING A Summary of the Evidence as delivered each Day in Court, methodi­cally digested, and the Proofs and Arguments as well for as against him, fairly and impartially stated.

To which is added, The Admiral's DEFENCE, as presented by him, and read in the Court January 18, 1757. Together with an Account of his Behaviour in his last Moments.

With general Observations on the whole.

LONDON: Printed. BOSTON; NEW-ENGLAND, Re-printed and Sold by GREEN & RUSSELL, at their Office Queen-street, and by R. DRAPER, in Newbury-street. M.DCC.LVII




WHEREAS the King's Pleasure has been signified to us by Mr. Fox, one of his principal Secretaries of State, that, upon Consideration of the several Advices which have been received relating to the supposed Intention of the French to attack the Island of Minorca, a Squadron of Ten Ships of the Line do forthwith sail for the Mediterranean, under your Command; and whereas we have appointed the Ramilies, Buckingham, Culloder, Cap­tain, Revenge, Lancaster, Trident, Intrepid, Kingston and Defiance, for this Service. You are hereby required and directed, immediately to put to Sea with such of them as are ready (leaving Orders for the Rest to follow you as soon as possible) and proceed with the utmost Expedition to Gibraltar.

Upon your Arrival there, you are to enquire whether any French Squadron is come through the Straits; and if there is, to inform your­self as well as possible, of their Number and Force, and if any Part of them were Transports: And as 'tis probable they may be designed for North-America, and as his Majesty's Ships the Grafton, Stirling-Castle, Fougueux, Nottingham, Litchfield, Centurion, Norwich, Success and Vulture Sloop, are either at, or going to Halifax, and are to cruize off Louisbourg and the Mouth of the River St. Lawrance, you are imme­diately to take the Soldiers out of so many Ships of your Squadron, as, together with the Ships at and going to Halifax, will make a Force superior to the said French Squadron (replacing them with Landmen, or ordinary Seamen from your other Ships) and then detach them un­der the Command of Rear Admiral West, directing him to make the best of his Way off Louisbourg, and taking the aforementioned Ships, which he may expect to find there, under his Command, to cruize off the said Place, and the Entrance of the Gulf of St. Lawrance, and use his utmost Endeavours to intercept and seize the aforesaid French Ships, or any other Ships belonging to the French, that may be bound to, or returning from that Part of North-America.

If, upon your Arrival at Gibraltar, you shall not gain Intelligence of a French Squadron having passed the Straits, you are then to go on, without a Moment's Loss of Time, to Minorca; or, if in Consequence of such Intelligence, you shall detach Rear Admiral West, as before [Page] directed, you are to use equal Expedition in repairing thither with the Ships which shall remain with you; and if you find any Attack made upon that Island by the French, you are to use all possible Means in your Power, for its Relief: If you find to such Attack make, you are to proceed off Toulon, and station your Squadron in the best Manner you shall be able, for preventing say French Ships getting out of that Port or for intercepting and seizing any that may get out; and you are to exert the utmost Vigilance therein, and in protecting Minorca and Gibraltar, from any hostile Attempt.

You are also to be very vigilant for Protecting the Trade of his Ma­jesty's Subjects from being molested, either by the French, or by Crui­zers from [...], or any other of the Barbary States; and for that Purpose to appoint proper Convoys and Cruizers.

You are likewise to be as attentive as possble to the intercepting and seizing, as well Ships of War and Privateers, as Merchant Ships belong­ing to the French, where ever they may be met with, within the Limits of your Command: But in Pursuance of the King's Order in Council, you are not to suffer any of the Ships in your Squadron to take any French Vessels out of any Port belonging to the Ottoman Empire, upon any Pretence; nor to molest, detain, or imprison the Persons of any of the Subjects of the Ottoman Empire; and also, not to seize and detain any French Ship or Vessel whatsoever which they shall meet with in the Levant Seas, bound from one Port to another in those Seas, or to or from any Ports of Egypt, having any Effects of Turks on board.

Upon your Arrival in the Mediterranean, you are to take under your Command, his Majesty's Ships and Vessels, Princess-Louisa, Portland, Deptford, Chesterfield, Dolphin, Phoenix, Experiment, and Fortune Sloop, which are at present there.

If any French Ships of War should sail from Toulon, and escape your Squadron, and proceed out of the Mediterranean, you are forth­with to send, or repair yourself, to England, with a proportionable Part of the Ships under your Command; observing, that you are never to keep more Ships in the Mediterranean, than shall be necessary for ex­ecuting the Services recommended to you.

To enable you the better to perform the aforementioned Services, you are to take Care to keep the Ships and Vessels under your Com­mand, in constant good Condition, and to have than cleaned as often as shall be requisite for that Purpose.

Anson, Thomas Villiers, William Rowley, Edward Boscawen, Bateman, Richard Edgecumbe.
By Command of their Lordships, J. Clevland.

THIS comes to you by Express from hence by Way of Madrid, recommended to Sir Benjamin Keene, his Majesty's Minister at that Place, to be forwarded with the utmost Expedition.

I arrived here with the Squadron under my Command the 2d Instant, in the Afternoon, after a tedious Passage of Twenty-seven Days, occa­sioned by contrary Winds and Calms, and was extremely concerned to hear from Captain Edgecumbe, who I found here with the Princess-Louisa, and Fortune Sloop, That he was obliged to retire from Mi­norca, the French having landed on that Island, by all Accounts from thirteen to fifteen thousand Men.

They failed from Toulon the 10th of last Month, with about 160, or 200 Sail of Transports, escorted by 13 Sail of Men of War, how many of the Line I have not been able to learn with any Certainty.

If I had been so happy to have arrived at Mahon before the French had landed, I flatter myself, I should have been able to have prevented their getting a Footing on that Island; but as it has so unfortunately turned out, I am firmly of Opinion, from the great Force they have landed, and the Quantity of Provisions, Stores, and Ammunition of all Kinds they brought with them, that the throwing Men into the Castle, will only enable it to hold out but a little Time longer, and add to the Numbers that must fall into the Enemy's Hands; for the Garrison in Time will be obliged to surrender, unless a sufficient Number of Men could be landed to dislodge the French, or raise the Siege: However, I am determined to sail up to Minorca with the Squadron, where I shall be a better Judge of the Situation of Affairs there, and will give General Blakeney all the Assistance he shall require, though I am afraid all Communication will be cut off between us; as is the Opinion of the chief Engineer of this Garrison (who has served in that Island) and that of the other Officers of the Artillery who are acquainted with the Situation of the Harbour: For if the Enemy have erected Batteries on the two Shores near the Entrance of the Harbour (an Advantage scarce to be supposed they have neglected) it will render it impossible for our Boats to have a Passage to the Sally Port of the Garrison.


The TRIAL OF Vice-Admiral BYNG.

THE Summer of the Year 1756, will be ever memorable for the Losses and Disgraces we suffered in the Mediter­ranean. The Loss of Minorca without the least Attempt for its Relief, and the Loss of a Victory after it was more than half gained, are Facts too notorious to be de­nied; die fatal Consequences of which are sensibly felt as well in the Disreputation brought on the British Arms, as in the vast Detriment to our Commerce in that Part of the World. But to whom these Misfortunes and Miscarriages ought to be imputed, is the great Question which for these six Months past, has been the general Topic of Conversation, and raised such a Spirit throughout the Kingdom, as evidently shewed how dearly the Glory of their King and Country is prized by all True Britons. Some have laid the Blame on the Ministry, in delaying too long the sending Succours for the Relief of so important a Place, and the Incompetency of those Succours, when sent, for ac­complishing a Business in which the Interest of the Nation in general was so nearly concerned. Others again were no less warm in their Censures of Admiral Byng, and impute the whole Miscarriage to his Neglect, Cowardice, or Misconduct. And as the Admiral was the immediate Instrument employed in this great Affair, the general Voice was loud in demanding Justice upon him, as if to his Mismanagement alone this irreparable Misfortune ought to be attributed. And the Letter which he wrote to the Admiralty, giving an Account of his Engagement with the French Fleet, as inserted in the Gazette, instead of allaying the Cla­mour, served only to increase the general Indignation of the Public a­gainst [Page 6] him. The Admiral, however, to vindicate his own Conduct, and to stop the Torrent of Calumny, which came pouring upon him from every Quarter, thought proper to publish some Pamphlets, wherein he affirms that the Letter published in the Gazette, as coming from him, was so altered, mutilated and curtailed, by those who conveyed it to the Press, that a quite different Turn was given to his true Sense and Meaning, with a Design, as he supposes, to bring upon him the Re­sentment of his King and Country, and the general Odium for the Loss of Minorca; which, he says, ought rather to be attributed to those who had the Direction or the Expedition, than to him who was only em­ployed as an Instrument in the Execution of it. But whether the Ad­miral was deficient in his Duty or not, yet I think, to speak impartially, his Letter ought to have been given to the Public in his own identical Words, for which only he could be answerable, and the doing other­wise, was certainly inconsistent with that Honour and Justice which is due to an Officer of such Distinction, whether guilty or innocent of the Crime laid to his Charge, since, at that Time, it was the only authentic Information the Public could have of such an important Transaction, of which he was the sole Manager.

Upon Receipt of the Admiral's Letter, and other Advices from the Mediterranean, that the Garrison at Fort St. Philip's had not been re­lieved, and was in the utmost Danger of falling into the Hands of the Enemy, the Government thought fit to send out another Squadron, un­der the Command of Sir Edward Hawke, with a Commission to examine into the Conduct and Behaviour of the Admirals and Officers, and en­quire into the Causes of the ill Success of that Expedition. Sir Edward, pursuant to his Instructions, when he came to Gibraltar, and had got what Intelligence he could by Enquiry, delivered to Admiral Byng, the Order for his Suspension, and sent him home Prisoner in the Antelope.

On the Admiral's Arrival at Portsmouth, an Order was sent to Ad­miral Osborne to put him under Arrest, and for his Removal to London; but he was not got far on his Way, before his Guard were met by a Messenger from the Admiralty, with an Order to convey him back a­gain to the Ship. In a few Days after, a strong Detachment of the Guards brought him away, and lodged him in the House of the Go­vernor of Greenwich Hospital, where he was strictly confined, under a strong Guard, till the Time of his Trial.

[Page 7] As soon as the Admiral was made acquainted with the Nature of the Charge against him, as contained in the Warrant of the Lords of the Admiralty to their Marshal, he writes to Mr. Cleveland, their Lordship's Secretary, desiring the Liberty of sending for such a Number of Witnesses as he judged necessary for his Defence, and gave a List of Thirty-seven, with their Names; which their Lordships complied with. This Letter was dated August 4, and he was further told by the Secretary, that they would be sent for Home in the Colchester. The Admiral how­ever, about a Month afterwards, September 6, desires, in a Letter to the Secretary, Permission of their Lordships, to send for another Set of Witnesses from the Fleet, to the Number of Thirty-one. But their Lordships considering how detrimental to the public Service, the Ab­sence of such a Number of Officers from their Duty might be, and ima­gining that Mr. Byng's Design was only to gain Time and delay his Trial, did not think fit to comply with his Request; and acquainted him, that as soon as the Witnesses already sent for should come over, they intended to bring on his Trial, which they saw no Reason to post­pone any longer.

The Witnesses being all arrived and in Readiness, the Trial was ap­pointed to come on on Monday, December 27, on Board the St. George, lying in Portsmouth Harbour.

December 23, the Admiral arrived at Portsmouth in a Coach and Six, guarded by a Party of fifty Horse, and went directly to Mr. Hutchins's, Boatswain of the Dock-yard, where a Marine Guard mounted every Day.

Monday, December 27. A Jack in the Mizen Shrouds was hoisted on Board the St. George as a Signal for a Court Martial; about nine a Gun fired for all Captains in the Harbour to come on Board; the Com­mission was read, and the Members of the Court were sworn; which was all that was done this Day; and then adjourn'd till next Morning nine o'Clock. The Court consisted of the following Members, viz.

  • Thomas Smith, Esq Vice Admiral of the Red.
  • Thomas Holbourne, Esq Rear Admiral of the Red.
  • Harry Norris, Esq Rear Admiral of the White.
  • Thomas Broderick, Esq Rear Admiral of the Blue.
  • [Page 8]Charles Holmes,
  • William Boys,
  • John Simcoe,
  • John Bentley,
  • Peter Dennis,
  • Francis Geary,
  • John Moore,
  • James Douglass,
  • Hon. Augustus Keppel.

Five Hours were appointed for their sitting each Day; but none of them allowed to go ashore till the Trial should be finished; but Mr. Byng and his Witnesses might come ashore every Night, if they thought fit. The Court was order'd to be open, and free Admittance given to every Body who had the Curiosity to hear the Trial, which occasion'd a numerous Concourse of People on Board every Day.

All Things being in Order, and the Witnesses ready, the Charge was open'd, which was to this Effect,

‘THAT he, John Byng, Esq Admiral of the Blue Squadron of his Majesty's Fleet in the Mediterranean, during the Engagement of His Majesty's said Fleet, and the Fleet of the French King, on the 20th of May last, did withdraw, or keep back, and did not do his utmost to take, seize and destroy the Ships of the French King, which it was his Duty to have engaged, and to assist such of his Majesty's Ships as were engaged in Fight with the French Ships, which it was his Duty to have assisted; and for that he the said John Byng did not do his utmost to relieve St. Philip's Castle, in his Majesty's Island of Minorca, then besieged by the Forces of the French King; but acted contrary to, and in Breach of his Instructions given the Lords of the Admi­ralty, by his Majesty's Command.’

After which he made the following Speech to the Court:


‘I think myself extremely happy in my present Situation, to have my Conduct enquired into by Gentlemen of your well-known Abilities, Integrity, and Candor; and, from thence I hope to answer for my self with Honour, and to demonstrate my Innocence of the Accusations exhibited against me.’

Wednesday, 29. The first Witness sworn was Admiral West, who deposed to the Effect following:

Being ask'd, whether he had ever delivered his Opinion, answered: This Question appears to me of an extraordinary Nature, I cannot con­ceive that, as a Witness, I am at all called upon to know at what I ex­pressed Dissatisfaction. It is not a Matter of Fact as to my particular [Page 9] Opinion: There might be Appearances at which I might express Dissa­tisfaction, and they not Facts. When I saw the Rear of our Fleet a­stern, I could not but be dissatisfied with that Appearance. I saw the Fleet in that Situation, but cannot tell the Reason: Therefore my O­pinion, that I may have given, may be founded upon what was not really Fact, tho' it appeared to me to be so. As to the other Ships, I know nothing of their Situation. I went down and engaged my proper Ship till she bore away; after that I went and engaged a-head with the Lancaster; then the Rear came up, and engaged them as long as they staid. I have given in all these Particulars; and if the Court desires to know my Opinion without Facts, it was what I did not expect. I de­sire to give every Light into this Matter that may inform the Court, but the Court may be misled by my Opinion, without Facts. Where a Judgment is drawn from Evidence, it is drawn from Evidence of Facts. I may have conceived a wrong Opinion, either from its not being well founded on Facts, or from my making a wrong Judgment of those that did appear. I only mean to say, that this is a Question, my Answer to which may mislead, because it may be founded on Appearances; there was an Appearance from the Fleet's being so far a-stern; there was an Appearance of some Want in somebody, but with whom I cannot pre­tend to say.

His Examination lasted till near Five in the Evening. When the Court was adjourning, he begged they would complete his Examination that Night, because he was going out upon an Expedition of great Im­portance, by the King's Special Order: But as the Court and Mr. Byng had many Questions to ask him, the Court informed him, they should be glad to go through, but that there was not Time; and then the Court adjourn'd till next Morning.

Thursday 30. Admiral West appeared, and finished his Examination about three in the Afternoon. In the Course of his Examination, some of the most material Questions were, Whether any unnecessary Delay was made at St. Helen's, or at Gibraltar? Answered in the Negative. At what Distance the Ramillies was from the Buckingham at the Time of the Engagement? He replied, about three Miles. Whether the Ad­miral and the Rear could have come up to the Assistance of the Van, and come to a close Engagement with the Enemy? He answer'd, he knew no Impediment to the contrary; but that he would not be under­stood [Page 10] to mean that there was none. How the Wind and Weather was? He replied, very calm and fine. Whether he could keep his lower Ports open? He replied, yes; and that he knew of but one Ship that could not, and that was the Deptford, who lower'd her Ports occasionally. How many Men he had kill'd and wounded? He answer'd, Three kill'd and Seven wounded. What Damage he receiv'd in his Hull, Masts, Yards, and Rigging? For an Answer to which he referred them to a written Account he had deliver'd into Court thereof. He was asked in what Condition the Ship was in regard to Men, on the 20th of May, the Morning of the Engagement? He replied in very good. Whether he saw any Fire from the Admiral's Ship during the Engagement? He said, when he was looking towards the Intrepid, which was in Distress a-stern of her, he did see some Smoak, which probably might be from the Ad­miral's Ship, or some of his Division; but he could not discover at what Ship it was directed. Whether on the 24th of May, the Day of the Council of War, his Ship was repaired, fit for a second Engagement? He answer'd, yes, before that. When? He answer'd, the very next Night after the Engagement.

Mr. Byng asked him, whether it was not in the Power of the Enemy to decline coming to a close Engagement, as the two Fleets were situated? He replied, yes; but as they lay to for our Fleet, he apprehended they intended to fight. Whether he was of Opinion, that the Forces on board the Fleet could have relieved Minorca? He said, He believed not.— Whether some of the Ships were not deficient in their Compliment of Men, some of the Ships out of Repair, and whether not deficient in Point of Force with the Enemy? To which he answered in the Affirmative.

The Court having done with Mr. West, Lord Blakeney was sworn. In the Course of the Examination, he informed the Court of the Time the British Fleet was discovered by the Garrison, and the Time of its disappearing; that upon Sight of it he wrote a Letter to be carried off by Mr. Boyd the Store-keeper, and Aid de Camp to Col. Jeffreys, to inform the Admiral of his Situation, &c. A Copy of which Letter he had in his Hand, and desired it might be read. But Mr. Byng ob­jecting thereto, as it was only a Copy, and not the Original, it was not read, because Mr. Boyd was to be examined thereto, and could produce the Original.

[Page 11] Mr. Byng asked the General, Whether he thought the Forces could be landed? He answered very easily. Whether there were not Fascines in the Way? He said, Yes; but they might easily have been destroyed. Whether the Attempt to land the Men would not have been attended with Danger? The General replied, ‘Danger! most certainly. It could not be so easy as stopping into this Ship. I have been upwards of 50 Years in the Service, and I never knew any Expedition of Consequence carried into Execution, but what was attended with some Danger; but of all the Expeditions I ever knew, this was certainly the worst.’ Mr. Byng ask'd, Whether the French had not a Castle at the Point, which might have prevented their Landing? The General answered, Not the 20th of May; and said, that the Enemy were in such Distress for Am­munition, that they fired Stones at the Garrison. Mr. Byng ask'd the General, Whether the Officers and few Men he had on board the Fleet, would have been of any great Service to the Garrison? He answered, Yes, of very great Service; for that he was obliged, at that Time to set some of his Men to plaister the Breaches. He added, That he believed, had the Detachment been landed, he might have held out, 'till Sir Edward Hawke came, tho' without sufficient Force to drive the Enemy away, he could not save the Island.

Friday, 31. Mr. Boyd was sworn. In the Course of his Examination it appeared that he was sent off with a Letter, in a Boat, to deliver to the Admiral, but could not be particular to the Time; that he kept out as long as he thought it probable to reach the Admiral; but when he found it impracticable to close the Admiral, as he was then going to the Southward, he returned without delivering the Letter.

The President of the Court asking him, if a 20 Gun Ship could have come and destroyed the Battery? Answered, Yes, if there had been deep Water, which he could not say, not having ever sounded it, tho' he had often heard it reported that there was deep Water at that Place.

Mr. Byng ask'd him, How long he waited before the Boat was ready to bring him off. He could not recollect, but remember'd he waited for it till he was very impatient. Whether he in the Boat did not pass thro' some Firings of the Enemy? Answered, There was some strag­gling Fire of small Arms, and about three or four Cannon Shot. Whe­ther it did not do them some Damage? He answered, No; he did not know that so much as one of them touched the Boat. How long [Page 12] he might be off in the Boat? About an Hour and a Half. Whether there was not a Breeze of Wind? Answer'd, When he got from the Land, he found a Breeze. Whether he thought the Admiral could see the Boat? Answered No; he believed not at that Distance, and so late in the Evening.

The next Witness examin'd was Capt. Everitt, who, before he gave his Evidence, desired to hear the Articles of the Charge, he not hap­pening to be in Court when they were formerly read, which Mr. Byng objected to, as contrary to the Custom of the Court; but on the Cap­tain's Request they were read. Captain Everitt being sworn, and ha­ving some Papers in his Hand, was asked what they were? He an­swered, They were Minutes he had taken from the Ship's Log-Book, and his own Journal, to refresh his Memory. To the using of which Mr. Byng objected, the Log-Book not being a proper Testimony. Whereupon the Court was cleared, to deliberate upon the Point. Upon the Court's being opened again, their Opinion was, That those Minutes might be used to refresh his Memory upon such Points only as fell im­mediately under his own Observation.

In the Course of his Examination it appeared, that there was all possible Dispatch made, and no unnecessary Delay in the Sailing of the Fleet from St. Helen's to Gibraltar, and from thence to Mabon; that the Buckingham's Men were healthy, having but two incapable of com­ing to their Quarters; that they had 90 or 100 Tons of Water on Board; that they got Sight of the Island of Minorca about Six in the Morning of the 19th of May; that about Eleven in the Forenoon they were two Leagues distant from St. Philip's Castle, and believed that was the nearest Distance he was to it; that about Two in the Afternoon the French Fleet was seen distinctly, standing to the Westward, but could not say at what Distance; that our Fleet was standing to the S.E. the Wind at S.S.W. moderate fine Weather; that on the 20th of May, about Eight in the Morning, they saw the French Fleet preparing for Engagement.

The like Questions were proposed to him as to Admiral West; and in his Answers was of Opinion, That the Admiral's Division might have carried all their Sail, and thereby assisted the Van, and prevented them from receiving so much Fire from the Enemy's Rear.

[Page 13] Mr. Byng was asked. Whether he chose to ask Captain Everitt say Questions? To which he replied. He had no Questions to propose then, but should have Occasion to ask him some hereafter, therefore desired he might be kept in the Way for that Purpose. Captain Everitt said, He should have been very glad if those Questions could then be asked, as he was under Sailing Orders with Admiral West. Mr. Byng answered, He could not propose them at that Time, but would as soon is possible; upon which Capt. Everitt was ordered to attend the Court.

Mr. Byng then informed the Court, that he wanted to ask Lord Blakeney some Questions. Whereupon the General was ordred to at­tend the next Morning at Nine o'Clock; to which Time the Court then adjourned.

Saturday, Jan. 1. Lord Blakeney appeared in Court, in Consequence of Mr. Brag's Request; when the Admiral proposed a Question, the Substance of which, and the Answers were as follows: Whether if the Admiral had landed his Troops, it could have saved St. Philip's from falling into the Hands of the Enemy? His Lordship said, It was im­possible for him to answer that Question with any Certainty; but he was of Opinion, that had they been landed, he should have been able to have hold out the Siege till Sir Edward Hawke had come to his Relief.

Then the four First Lieutenants of the Buckingham, Captain Everitt, Admiral West's Ship, were examined, and all agreed, that they knew of no Impediment to hinder the Admiral and his Division, from coming to the Assistance of the Van, which was closely engaged, and raked by the Enemy's Rear as they came up; and that the Admiral was not seen by them to go to a close Engagement with the Enemy, agreable to his own Signals.

Monday, Jan. 3. Captain Everitt was cross-examined by the Court and Mr. Byng; and being asked, How many Guns the Ships in the Van carried? answered, That the Sides of those next the Buckingham had 14 on the lower Deck, all the others 13. Of what Rats they were? answered, One a 74 Gun Ship, the others 64, and six in Number. Whether, if Admiral Byng had come to a close Engagement, a com­pleat Victory might not have been obtained? Answer, There was all the Reason in the World to expect it; it being well known that Admi­ral West beat off two Ships, though he had but five Ships to their six, and ours smaller Ships than theirs, and their Metal heavier. How the [Page 14] Wind? as fair a Gale as could be wished for. Whether he had too much or too little? Answer, Just enough, and no more. What Sail had Mr. Byng? Answer, His lower Courses, Top and Top-Gallant Sails full; but his Main-Sail, Main-Top-Sail, and Top-gallant Sail, a-back.

The Court then asked Mr. Byng, If he should have Occasion to ask Capt. Everitt, or any of the Buckingham's People, any more Questions? and being answered in the Negative, the Captain, and the rest of the Officers of the Buckingham, were discharged from any further Atten­dance on the Court, and were informed they might repair on Board their Ship.

Capt. Gilebrist sworn. He acquainted the Court, that he was situated opposite the Rear Admiral on the 20th of May to repeat Signals. In the Course of his Examination he said, Every Ship did not bear down at a proper Distance to attack the Enemy, according to Signals thrown out by the Admiral, about Half an Hour past Two o'Clock; but the Rear-Admiral and his Division bore down before the Wind, and hauled up opposite to their proper Ships, and attacked the Enemy, except the Defiance, which appeared to be a-head; that the Ships in the Rear were in a Line of Battle a-head; upon which the Defiance threw all a-back, and fell down upon her proper Ship, the Head-most Ship of the Ene­my; that the Admiral did not bear down before the Wind upon the Enemy, nor any of his Division; that the French Fleet, at the Time of the Signal, were all lying too with their Main-Top-Sails to the Masts; and that our Van was in the same Position. He could not take upon him to say, whether the Admiral ever engaged at a proper Distance, on Account of the Smoak from the Firings of the Revenge, Princess Lou­isa, and Trident, He agreed that the Wind, Weather, and Situation of the Enemy's Fleet, were such as to enable them to engage at a proper Distance; that the Ships in the Rear did not make all the Sail they could to close with the Enemy, from the Time the Signal was given for Battle till the Action was over; but that, in the latter Part of the Action, Mr. Byng set all his Sail, except his Top-Gallant Sails; that the Wind and Weather was such, that he could have carried all the Sail in the Ship that he commanded, and knew no Reason why he did not; that the Van of our Fleet was engaged about an Hour and a Quarter; that the Admiral did not continue in the same Position, but kept lasking away, angling upon the Enemy; that he saw the Ramillies fire; that the [Page 15] Distance of the Rear Division from the Van seemed to be about three Miles; that he made no Doubt, if the Admiral had carried Sail all along, but they might have prevented the Enemy's Rear from pouring some of their Fire into our Van; and that the Distance between our Rear and Van, was occasioned by the Rear throwing their Top-sails a-back when they began to fire.

Being asked, If the Admiral had engaged, whether he might have defeated the French? answered, That his Opinion was, he might.

Another Officer, whose Name is forgot, was peremptorily asked, If he saw the Admiral engaged? answered, He saw a Firing. When one of the Gentlemen said somewhat smartly, Is not firing engaging? The Officer replied, He did not call firing of Guns at so great a Distance engaging.

Capt. Hervey, of the Phoenix, sworn. He was stationed a-breast the Admiral to repeat Signals. He said, that about Forty-three Minutes after Two, Signal was made for the Deptford to quit the Line; and about fifty Minutes after Two the Ramillies began to fire upon the E­nemy, having before that received the Fire of the three sternmost Ships of the Enemy for about ten or twelve Minutes, in which Time he ob­served some of the Enemy's Shot to fall between the Ramillies and his Ship the Phoenix; about the same Time he observed the Intrepid's Fore-top Mast to be lost; he observed then the quick Motion of the Intrepid in bearing down, had occasioned her to be raked by the Enemy, to have lost her Top-Mast, and to have run the Risque of falling on Board the Admiral, who was then engaged, and might not see them Time enough to prevent it. Some Time after the Ramillies ceased Fire, the eleventh Ship in the Enemy's Line bore away from the Ramillies Fire, as was concluded by the People on Board; that the Culloden fired but a few Times, and at a greater Distance than the Ramillies; that the whole Fire ceased about Five in the Afternoon; that the Enemy seemed to go off from the Fire of our Van, some of them not damaged. This in general; but the President desiring him to give as distinct and particular Account as he could of the Action, after the Signal to engage; he gave his Evidence as follows:

I presume, I am to begin with the Signal to engage; the Minutes I have in my Hand are only in respect to Time. The Signal was made about 20 Minutes after Two for engaging. At the Time the Signal was made, some [Page 16] of the English Fleet bore away more than others; which I take to be owing to the Ships in the Van not having observed the Signal before for leading large, which was made by the Admiral, and which I repeated about Two; I recollect to have repeated it two or three Times after­wards. The Admiral bore down with his Topsails, and, as near as I can recollect, with his Foresail set at that Time; and I very well remem­ber saying, that the Admiral seemed to me to bear away rather more than either of the Seconds. The Buckingham and Lancaster bore down also on the Ships of the Enemy, which, as I imagined, they took to have fell to their Lot. The Intrepid I saw bear right down. I cannot say, I was excessively minute upon the Proceedings of the Van then, I was more attentive to the Admiral, whole Signals I was to repeat; and another Reason was, I was then employed in shifting Men and Things into a Schooner, which was ordered to attend me, and in compleating and fitting my Ship for burning as a Fire-ship.

It was about half an Hour past Two, I think, when some of the French Van began to fire, and soon after that the Fire became general, except from two or three of the Sternmost of the Enemy, and they seem­ed to be reserving their Fire for the Admiral Commander in Chief, who was then going down upon them. About 43 Minutes after Two, the Signal was made for the Deptford to quit the Line; I had my Watch in my Hand, and therefore can be more particular, and I think it was about fifty Minutes after Two that the Ramilies began to fire, having before received the Fire of these sternmost Ships of the Enemy for about 10 or 12 Minutes (I am not certain as to a Minute or two) in which Time, I observed several of the Enemy's Shot to fall between the Ra­milies and the Ship I commanded. It was about this Time, when I ob­served the Intrepid's Foremast to be shot away; it might have been done sooner, but I did not observe it till then; she seemed then to lay muzzled, her Fore-sail a-back, or in the Wind, and her Main top-sail in the Wind also; I imagined that to be from her Fore-tack being shot away, or some of that Kind. About Three I saw the Revenge, Princess Louisa and Trident, all three with their Topsails a-back, the Revenge very near the Intrepid, under her Lee Quarter, and a little a-stern with­al. I remember then to have said upon Deck, that quick Motion of the Intrepid's, in bearing down right before the Wind, occasioned her being raked and losing her Fore-top-Mast, and the Ship next to her not pas­sing [Page 17] her would bring those Ships a-stern of her, and a-head of the Ad­miral, in such a Cluster, that they would run the Risque of dropping on Board of the Admiral, who was then engaged, and probably might not see them soon enough to prevent it. About five or six Minutes after Three, I saw the Ramilies's Topsails a-back, and at the same Time, a Yellow Flag at the Mizen-top-Mast-Head, which was hauled down while I was endeavouring to repeat it, and a Yellow Flag hoisted at the Fore-top-Mast Head. I take that Yellow Flag at the Mizen-top-Mast Head to have been up five or six Minutes, because, while the Men at the Mizen-top-Mast were bending it, I was obliged to order it down again, to re­peat that which was hoisted on Board the Admiral at the Fore-top-Mast Head, I having but one Yellow Flag on Board. About six or seven Minutes afterwards, a red Ensign was hoisted at the Mizen-top-Mast Head; and I believe it was much about the Time of the Signals being made to bring to, that the Ramilies ceased firing. In Narratives of this Kind, one cannot keep Time so exactly as I could wish, but must go back from one Thing to another.

At the Time of the Smoak being cleared away by their ceasing firing, I observed the eleventh Ship in the Enemy's Line to have kept away large with his Main-topsail Yard down, which I remember, on board, we then concluded was from the Ramillies Fire, for the Culloden had fired but very few Guns, and those at a greater Distance than the Ramillies.

It was about Three when the Ramillies filled and made Sail, Fore-sail, Jibb and Stay-Sail; I think that was the Sail at that Time; and at Four the Signal was made for the Chesterfield to lay by the Intrepid, and then the Revenge, Princess Louisa, and Trident were recovering their Stations in the Line a-head of the Admiral, who then had his Courses, Top-sails, Jibb, and Stay-sails set; I think the Main-sail was set then, it was just then I saw it; it might have been set before, but I did not observe it till then; at that Time, or about that Time, the Intrepid being then got clear of the Line, I then saw the Deptford shifting her Pendant to the Fore-top-Mast Head, hoisting a red Ensign, and she crowded Sail, seemingly to me, to be standing for the Intrepid's Station in the Line.

About Five the whole Firing ceased; I then saw the Buckingham with her Main-top-Sail Yard down, and I think her Fore-top-gallant Sail and Sprit-sail set. The Lancaster and Portland were then at some [Page 18] Distance from the Buckingham, the Captain rather upon the Bucking­ham's Weather Quarter, and a-stern withal, and the Defiance close upon the Captain's Weather Quarter. The Defiance, before that seemed to be disabled in her Sails and Rigging, which I imagined, occasioned her to fall a-stern out of her Station.

The French fourth or fifth Ship from the Van, seemed to me to have bore away from the Fire of our Ships in the Van, and very soon after­wards the three headmost of the Enemy did the same; but none of them appeared to me to be disabled: So that, whether it was to avoid the Action, or by a Signal from the Commander in Chief (for I saw Flags flying on board the French Admiral) I should rather imagine the latter, as I had not observed any such close Engagement as to oblige Ships of their seeming Force, to avoid an Action, which I imagine they had in their Power from the Beginning, by out-sailing the Ships of our Fleet, as well as I could observe, when our Ships had more Sail set than what I observed the Enemy to have.

Being asked, If the Flags which he saw on board the French Admiral, might not be Signals to recal his retreating Ships, as well as to call them off? answered, Certainly Yes.

The French Admiral with the rest of the Ships, were then edging down under their Top-sails and Fore-sails to close their Van; and tho' I observed, that the Rear of the Fleet closed our Van very fast, which was then very much disordered, yet they did not appear to me to gain any thing of the Enemy. A little after Five, the Rear had closed the Van; when I speak of the Van, I mean the Buckingham, who then had the Captain and Defiance upon her Weather Quarter; the Portland and Lancaster were then a considerable Way a-head.

About thirty Minutes after Five, the Signal was made to bring to; and a little before Six, the Signal was made to fill and stand on. The Intrepid and Chesterfield were then a considerable Way a-stern, and up­on the Weather Quarter withal.

At twenty Minutes after Six, the Signal was made to tack; and for the Ships that led before with the Larboard Tack, to continue to lead with the Starboard Tack. At Seven, the Signal of the Line was haul­ed down.

I then ceased from repeating Signals, and went on Board the Admiral to receive his Commands. That is all I know in general of the Action.

[Page 19] Tuesday, 4. Capt. Hervey was re-examined till near Two, with very little Variation from the Narrative he had given the Court the Day before.

Captain Amburst, on his Examination, said, he thought Mr. Byng would have fought, if the French had staid: But the Confusion this Evidence was in, his advancing no plausible Reason for his Belief, and his negative Answers to the Questions respecting Distance, Sailing, &c. added to the Circumstance of the French Rear's lying to an Hour and a Quarter, and in Fact, not going away till their Van retreated, made his Opinion too weak to be depended upon.

Wednesday, 5. Mr. Lloyd, a Lieutenant, and Mr. Philips, a Volun­teer on board the Fleet, but now a Captain, were examin'd; in whose Examination nothing particular appeared further than has been already noted.

Thursday, 6. The Lieutenant of the Lancaster was examined, and then a Gentleman who was a Volunteer on board. Their Evidence seemed very clear and certain as to some particular Facts which fell im­mediately under their Observation, but were not much in Favour of the Admiral.

Captain Young being called and sworn, depos'd, That the Rear might have went down as well as himself, who had only his Topsails and Foresails; but the most remarkable Thing in his Evidence was, his saying, that the losing his Topmast could neither then make him run soul of the Rear, he being to Leeward, nor was it probable they could on him, the Distance being so great; though this was the Admiral's Ex­cuse, in his Letter published in the Gazette: and what Captain Hervey, the Admiral's principal Advocate, intimated in his Evidence, was very likely to have happened, had not the Admiral thrown his Sails a-back to prevent it.

Captain Young added, that after he had cut his Rigging away, he hoisted Main Topsail and Foresail, and fought again, till the Revenge's Boat came with Notice from Captain Cornwall, that he was coming to his Assistance, to desire him to cease firing, and he would place himself betwixt him and the Enemy, which he did.

But this Matter being more fully explained in the Captain's Cross-Ex­amination, we shall give it verbatim as follows:

Friday, 7. Did the Loss of your Fore-top-Mast put any of our Ships in our Rear in Danger of being on board you? A. Not as I could [Page 20] perceive, Q. Did it occasion any Impediment to the Admiral and his Division from going down, and engaging the Enemy closely? A. Not as I could perceive. Q. Did any of the Ships tack at that Time? A. I did not observe just then; they were to Windward of me; and I saw several of the Ships upon my Weather Quarter with their Topsails a­back. Q. Did you think at that Time they were in any Danger of be­ing a-board you? A. No; I was to Leeward of them, so could not drive a-thwart them. Q. Could they at that Time have wore clear of you, and gone down to the Center and Rear of the Enemy? A. Yes; because I was a-head and to Leeward. Q. Did the Admiral and his Di­vision bear down on your Stern, and go to the Center and Rear of the Enemy? A. No; not when my Top-mast went away. Q. Did they at any Time afterwards? A. Yes, near an Hour after, and went to Leeward of me, and passed me. Q. Did they go down to the Center and Rear to engage properly? A. The French were then gone, and left me a-stern. Q. What Sail had the French Rear set when they pas­sed you? A. I think their Topsails and Foresails. Q. What Sail had the Admiral and his Division abroad then? A. Foresails and Staysails, and the Calloden her Top-gallant-Sails. Q. How long after you lost your Top-mast was it before the Admiral and his Division passed to Lee­ward of you? A. About three Quarters of an Hour or an Hour. Q. With the Wind as it then was; could the Admiral and his Division, if they had set all their Sails, from the Time the Signal for engaging was made and borne away properly, could they have come to a close En­gagement with the Enemy? A. Yes; the French were lying to for us; I went down only under my Top-sails, and they might have added Sails in Proportion to the Distance and Going of their Ships. Q. During the three Quarters of an Hour, or an Hour, which you mentioned just now, did you observe what Sail the Admiral and his Division were un­der? A. No, not particularly. Q. Did you observe any Motions that were made for going down to the Enemy? A. No. Q. How long after you lost your Fore-mast did the Center and Rear of the French Line lay to? A. Till the Revenge's Boat came on board me; and de­sired I would leave off firing, that they might make Sail and go between me and the Enemy, which they did directly; the French Fleet then run, who were opposite to me, and the Rear followed them. Q. After the Admiral and his Division had made Sail, did they get up with the Cen­ter [Page 21] and Rear of the Enemy, so as to come to a close Engagement A. There was very little Action after that Time. Q. Did you, before the French run, see the Admiral and his Division closely engaged with the Enemy? A. No; they were a-stern and to Windward of me. Q. Did you see the Admiral and his Division engage from first to last? A. Yes; some of the Ships; they fired. Q. Did you observe at what Distance they were one from the other? A. I did not take Notice. Q. Did you see any of their Shot fall? A. No; I was too much employed to take Notice. Q. Was you within point-blank Shot of the Enemy? A. I can't judge that exactly. Q. At what Distance do you suppose you were at that Time? A. Within random Musquet Shot, I believe, as the Lieutenant was wounded with a Musquet Ball. Q. How far were the Rear off at that Time? A. I did not take Notice. Q. When you bore down on the Enemy, did the Admiral and his Squadron do so too? A. No. Q. Under what Sail were the Admiral and his Division at that Time. A. Under their Top-sails and Fore-sails. Q. If they had bore down as the Intrepid, could they have closed the Enemy so as to have en­gaged properly? A. Yes, the French were laying to. Q. Did they lay to long enough to admit of it, supposing the Admiral and his Division had set all their Sails? A. Yes, long enough for me, and I suppose for the rest too. Q. Were our Ships in a proper Line of Battle a-head of one another, when the Signal for engaging was made? And had all our Ships bore away at the same Time, would it not have prevented the running aboard each other? A. Yes, there was a very good Line for­med; they were not so near together but every Ship had Room to wear.

Saturday, 8. Capt. Cornwall was sworn. In the Course of his Ex­amination, he said, that he went to his Windows abaft to take a View of the Fleet when in Line of Battle; that he was greatly surprized to see the Admiral and his Division at so great a Distance, as he was upon the Weather Quarter; that seeing the Intrepid in Distress and no Signal given for removing her out of the Line, he sell into her Station, enga­ged the Foudroyant the French Admiral, as the Ship he imagined fell to his Lot, according to the then Line of Battle; said, he knew of no Impediment to prevent the Admiral's engaging at a proper Distance, any more than the rest of the Fleet; observed, he was upon his Oath to swear the whole Truth, and would do so, though some Things he was going to say would affect himself; confessed, he went without Or­ders [Page 22] to assist the Intrepid; and being asked by the Admiral, If he did not break through an Article of his Instructions in going without his Command? answered, Yes; but added, If I did go beyond my Duty, it was my Zeal for my Country, though he mentioned another Article that favoured him.

Mr. Byng, upon this, observed to the Court, that his Reputation, which was dearer to him than his Life, nay his Life also, were in the Hands of the Court Martial, and in better Hands he desired them not; but said, he should prove, that the Revenge, by breaking the Line, was a great Impediment in his Way; and that if he could not prove that, or Something like it, The Lord have Mercy upon me.

N. B. This Captain Cornwall lost his Arm in the memorable Engagement in the Mediterranean, under Admiral Matthews, on Board the Marl­borough, when his Uncle Captain Cornwall lost his life; being then First Lieutenant.

Monday, 10. Captain Cornwall's Cross-Examination was finished. Capt. Cornwall gave his Testimony with great Clearness; and behaved like the Gentleman, the Sailor, and the Man of Honour.

Captain Durell, of the Trident, being sworn, deposed much the same as Captain Cornwall; did not accuse the Admiral of any unnecessary Delay to Minorca; was of Opinion, that the Admiral and his Division did not set all their Sail to join the Van of the British Fleet; but could not say the Admiral had not any Impediment to prevent it.

Tuesday, 11. Captain Gardiner, Admiral Byng's Captain, was under Examination and Re-examination all Day. He could not say all their Sails were set, or that the Rear Division could not come up to a close Engagement, as well as the Van; but said he advised the Admiral to bear down, to which the Admiral objected, and gave his Reasons against it; lest an Accident of a similar Nature with that of Admiral Matthews in the same Seas, should be the Consequence; and had nothing to say against the Admiral's personal Behaviour; said, he believed the Admiral intended a close Engagement, by his telling the Sailors, whose Eager­ness for Action had engaged them to fire without Orders, to save their shot till they came nearer to do Execution.

Wednesday, 12. Captain Gardiner was again examined, and made it appear, that the Admiral took the whole Command of the Ship from him, and that nothing was done that Day but what he ordered.

[Page 23] Then the Land Officers on board the Ramillies were examined. The Lord Robert Bertie's Examination was as follows: Q. Was not your Lordship, with your Regiment, ordered to serve in the Fleet under Ad­miral Byng's Command? A. The Orders I received are dated the 28th of March, from the Secretary at War. They are to put myself under the Command of Admiral Byng, and obey such Orders as I might re­ceive, from Time to Time, from him, or any other commanding that Squadron. Q. Do you know of any Troops embarked in the Fleet, besides your Regiment, except some few Officers and Recruits, and the Detachment from the Garrison at Gibraltar, that were put on Board the Ships of Mr. Edgcumbe's Squadron, in the room of some of their Men that were left in the Garrison of St. Philip? A. No. Q. Do you ap­prehend, that the throwing in about an hundred Men, consisting of Officers and Recruits, would have enabled the Garrison to hold out a­gainst the Enemy's Attacks? A. No; I apprehend they were of much more Service on Board the Fleet. Q. Was you upon the Quarter-Deck near the Admiral, during the whole Time of the Enemy's firing? A. Yes; I was near the Admiral during the whole Time that the Ramillies was fired upon. Q. Did the Admiral, from the Time the Signal was made to engage, continue going down upon the Enemy? A. It appear­ed to me, that he was going down standing to the Enemy, till such Time as the Admiral laid a-back. Q. Will you be pleased to inform the Court, if, during the Time of Action on the 20th of May, the Admiral ex­pressed any Impatience or Uneasiness at any Accident the Admiral judg­ed to impede his engaging the Enemy properly? A. At the Time the Admiral lay a-back, I heard him say, he wonder'd what the Ships a-head were about. Q. While the Ramillies continued going down upon the Enemy, did not their Shot reach her and pass over her? A. At the Time the French fired at the Ramillies, they reached her, passed over, and some hulled her. Q. At the Time that the Enemy were firing up­on us, and their Shot passing over us, did you hear the Admiral say any Thing on that Occasion? A. I recollect, that when the French were firing upon us, the Admiral desired Captain Gardiner not to fire, till such Time as we were down along side of them. Q. Did you not inform the Admiral, during the Time of the Firing, that you discerned thro' the Smoak, one of your Ships close under the Starboard Bow; and that if we did not immediately cease firing, we should fire into her? A. The [Page 24] Words I made use of to the Admiral, as well as I can recollect, were ‘Do you, or Captain Gardiner, see that Ship upon our Starboard Bow? I apprehend her to be one of ours; if you do not take Care we shall fire into her.’ Q. Did firing cease on board the Ramillies, as you apprehend, to avoid firing through our own Ship? A. Yes. Then Admiral Byng delivered some Questions to the President, which he de­sired the Judge Advocate might ask of the Witness. The President answer'd, I will ask them. Q. Was you near the Admiral's Person be­fore, during, and after the Action, and did you observe his Behaviour? A. I was near him the whole Day of the Action. Q. Did you perceive any Backwardness in the Admiral during the Action, or any Marks of Fear or Confusion, either from his Countenance or Behaviour? Q. He seem'd to me to give his Orders cooly and distinctly; and I don't ap­prehend he was in the least wanting in personal Courage. Q. Did the Admiral appear sollicitous to engage the Enemy, and to assist his Ma­jesty's Ships that were engaged with the Enemy? A. Yes. Q. Did you, on or after the Day of Action, hear any Murmuring or Discontent among the Officers or Men, upon any Supposition that the Admiral had not done his Duty? A. I never heard any one of the Ramillies speak disrespectfully of the Admiral.

Col. Smith, who was also upon the Quarter-Deck with the Admiral, confirmed the above in every Particular with this additional Circum­stance, that a Shot from the Enemy passed between him and Lord Ber­tie, as they were a-bast the Mainmast, which took off the Head of a Timber upon Deck, and went thro' the Hammocks in the Main Shrouds; said, the Admiral shewed no Signs of Fear, but quite the Reverse.

Capt. Edgar, who was quartered upon the Poop, confirmed such of the above Circumstances as came immediately under his own Observa­tion; but was not asked any Questions relative to the personal Behaviour of the Admiral, his Situation not giving him an Opportunity of an­swering to the same.

Col. Cornwallis, being sworn, said, that lie was on Board the Kingdom, could give no Account of the Action, and was willing to answer any Questions the Court demanded, or Mr. Byng would propose; but none were ask'd.

Capt. Gough first Lieutenant of the Ramillies, being sworn, said, That at the Time of the Signal being made for engaging, the Fleet ap­peared [Page 25] in a close and regular Line; that two Ships, which he believed to be the Trident and Louisa, were under their Lee-Bow; could not say at what Distance the Ramillies was from the Enemy at the Time of the Signal for engaging, being mostly at his Quarters, but believed when they began to engage, they were nearly at Point-Blank with the Enemy.

Capt. Besset, Second Lieutenant, being quartered upon the Lower-Deck, could not answer to the Distance, nor how long they continued firing; said, that several of the Enemy's Shot struck the Sides of the Ramillies; and one in particular cut one of the Hinges of the Ports close to him, but did not afterwards go thro' her Sides; but must have done so it had been properly loaded. He also said, that as the Enemy's Shot reached the Ramillies, he doubted not but her Shot reached them also.

Capt. Welbey, Third Lieutenant of the Ramillies, quartered upon the Middle Deck, said, that the Ramillies was bearing down when the Sig­nal was made; that he was ordered to double-shot the Guns, for the Admiral did not intend to fire all he came close up with the Enemy, and confirmed the above Testimony of a Ship or Ships being on their Lee-bow; agreed there was a commanding Breeze, and if all their Sails had been set, they should have been closer to the Enemy, and said, he believed they were within half a Mile of the Enemy.

Mr. Clark, the Fourth Lieutenant, was called, but not being on board, Mr. Waterfall, the Fifth Lieutenant, was examined, who said, he was quartered on the Lower-Deck, knew not the Distance from the Enemy, but apprehended they were within proper Distance for Engaging; that he received Orders by Lord Robert Berlie, to leave off firing on Ac­count of the Ship on the Lee-bow.

Mr. Hamilton, the Sixth Lieutenant of the Ramillies, who was quar­tered on the upper Gun-Deck, by the Mainmast forward, confirmed the preceeding Testimony chiefly, and said, when the Ramillies, begun to bear down, it might be about two Miles Distance, and was at the Dis­tance of about half a Mile when they began to fire; said, that thro' the Smoak he discovered the Trident's red Stern, and Part of her blue Co­lours, and that she was then upon her Lee-bow very near.

Thursday, 13. Lieut. Clark was examined, whose Evidence agreed in general with the other Lieutenants. The Carpenter of the Intrepid was sworn, and was asked but one Question, viz. If he could justify the Defects of the Ship, as he had given them in? which he answering posi­tively in the Affirmative, the Court discharged him.

[Page 26] The Gunner of the Ramillies was examined as to the Powder expen­ded that Day, who answered 20 Barrels, and 300 double-headed Shot. He was much confused, and said, the Intrepid was in their Way, and they could not bear down; but was told, he could not be Judge of that, being quartered on the Lower Gun-Deck. The Carpenter said, he could give no Account, being at his Duty in the Wings. The Boatswain said, he was minding his Rigging, and therefore could give no Account of the Matter. The Master gave his Evidence very confusedly, and by saying and unsaying, did the Admiral more Detriment than Service.

Friday, 14. Several Midshipmen were examined, and the Surgeon of the Ramillies, whose Evidence was not very material one way or the other. Capt. H. Ward, of the Culloden, was likewise examined, who de­clared, that the Admiral was retarded by backing his Top-sails near or quite half an Hour; and that had the Admiral set more sail at first, and bore down upon the Enemy, it was his Opinion, they might have taken every Ship. After him, several of his Lieutenants were examined, who all deposed to the very same Purpose.

Saturday, 15. Capt. Perry, was examined, whose Evidence was near the same with the rest of the Captains, viz. that he thought the Admiral might have carried his Top-gallant Sails that Day.

Here the Evidence for the King was closed by the Judge Advocate, and the Court adjourned to Monday Morning nine o'Clock, when Ad­miral Byng was to begin his Defence.

Monday, 17. Mr. Byng appeared to make his Defence; but nothing material was done.

Tuesday, 18. Mr. Byng delivered his Defence into Court, which was read by the Judge Advocate, in which he took Notice of the many In­dignities which he had undergone, by an enraged and deluded People; that he had been treated like a Felon; had been hanged and burnt in Effigy; his Person closely confined, and the Windows of his Prison bar­ricaded. He then observed to the Court, That he humbly presumed, no Proof had been given against him of any unnecessary Delay in the Fleet's sailing to Minorca, nor of his discovering any Backwardness or Signs of Fear, against engaging the Enemy; therefore moved the Court to give their Opinion thereon, as it might be a Means in saving some Time in the Course of his Defence.

[The Defence is annexed to the Trial.]

[Page 27] The Court was then ordered to be cleared upon this Motion, and in about an Hour and a Half was opened again. The Judge Advocate then read the unanimous Resolution of the Court; which was, That they could not give any Opinion till the Witnesses in his Defence were examined. Mr. Byng then called Capt. Gardiner again, and asked ma­ny Questions, most of which being Matter of Opinion, he begged Leave to refer them to the Court. Capt. Gardiner's Cross-Examination being gone through, the Court asked Mr. Byng, Who he should have Occasion to call To-morrow? He replied, Capt, Amburst, Hervey and Phillips. The Court then adjourned till next Morning.

Wednesday, 19. Mr. Byng delivered a Paper, declaring he had no more Evidence to produce but his Secretary, and would give the Court no farther Trouble; and likewise said, That his not going down to en­gage the Enemy, was not owing to his Want of Courage, but must be an Error in his Judgment. The Admiral having nothing more to say in his Defence, the Court closed. The next Morning the Members of the Court met, in order to revise the Evidence that had been given by the Witnesses during the Course of this long Trial, to consider the Strength of the Proofs for and against him, and to pass such an equitable Sentence as might do Justice both to their Country and the Prisoner.

Full eight Days were taken up in canvassing the Proceedings; and the Variety of the Evidence gave Occasion for several warm Debates a­mong them, and they were a good while divided in their Opinions as to his Guilt or Innocence. Five of them found him guilty of the whole Charge, and consequently that he ought to suffer Death. Four of them were only for breaking him, and thought the Loss of his Commission was a sufficient Punishment. And four of them were for entirely acquit­ting him. But as they could not deviate from the Articles of War, set­tled by Act of Parliament, they at length unanimously agreed to Thirty-Six Resolutions. [See Page 34. after the Admiral's Defence.]

The following Letters were sent to the Secretary's Office, who trans­mitted them to the President of the Court-Martial at Portsmouth. The first was wrote in English by the celebrated M. Voltaire, and directed to Admiral Byng. The other the Translation of a Letter in French from the Marshal D. Richlieu, and sent to M. Voltaire. But with what View they were wrote is not easy to be conceived. Surely these Gentlemen must have very mean and unworthy Notions of English Equity and Justice, to suppose that his Judges would condemn him, unless on the [Page 28] Testimony of unexceptionable Evidence; or that they were not as in­clinable to acquit as to punish him. Or, rather, is it not a French Gas­conade, to magnify the Bravery of their Fleet, and banter the English for their Folly and Temerity in pretending to cope with a Power so much their superior? In whatever Light we view these Letters, we plainly discover the Impertinence and Insult of their Writers. If the French were really victorious, as the Marshal has the Front to affirm, how came they to quit the Field of Battle, and not return to see what was become of their Enemy? Or, for what other Reason than their Misbehaviour in the Engagement, did they break four of their Captains immediately on their Arrival at Marseilles? But let the Reader judge for himself, after he has perused the two following Letters.

Cl [...]x del [...]s pres de Ge [...]e.


THOUGH I am almost unknown to you, I think it is my Duty is send you the Copy of the Letter which I have just received from the Marshal Duke of Rich­lieu: Hereas, Humanity, and Equity, order me to carrey it into your Hands. This noble and unexpected Testimory from me of the most candid as well as the mos gene­rous of my Countrymen, makes me presume your Judges will do you the same Justies.

I am with Respect, Sir, &c. VOLTAIRE.
To the Hon. J. BYNG, Esq

I Am very sensibly concerned for Admiral Byng: I do assure you whatever I have seen or heard of him does him Honour. After having done all that Man could reasonably expect from him, he ought not to be censured for suffering a Defeat. When two Commanders contend for Victory, though both are equally Men of Ho­nour, yet one must necessarily be worsted, and there is nothing against Mr. Byng but his being worsted; for his whole Conduct was that of an able Seaman, and is justly worthy of Admiration. The Strength of the two Fleets was at least equal; the English had thirteen Ships, and we twelve much better furnished and much cleaner. Fortune that presides over all Battles, and especially those that are fought at Sea, was more favourable to us than our Adversaries, by sending our Balls into their Ships with greater Execution. I am persuaded, and it is the general received O­pinion, that if the English had obstinately continued the Engagement, their whole Fleet would have been destroyed.

In short, there can be no higher Act of Injustice than what is new attempted a­gainst Admiral Byng, and all Men of Honour, and all Gentlemen of the Army, are particularly interested in the Event.


I received this original Letter from Marshal D. Richlieu, the 1st of January, 1757, in Witness of which I have signed my Name.


THE Admiral's Defence, the Resolves of the Court-Martial, &c. are contained in the following Sheet.

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