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French ships, homeward or outward bound, and bring them into our ports. - To which notable measure, it seems, tho' it exposed us to so much reproach, and ill-will, abroad, and excited so much ridicule at home, we owe both our danger and our preservation. The different and necessary fteps taken on the part of Great Britain, we are told, produced, and could not fail of producing, in the French, an ardent desire of revenge and tho' we had taken fuch numbers of their feamen from them, they were still in a condition to act on the offensive; to menace us with an inva. fon ; to be ready for any enterprize in America ; (so the case is ftated) and to form their project against Minorca ;--
weg who had been so alert at first, were already so exhausted, in point of men, at least
, that we could act on the defensive only: and hardly that, if it be true, that till nearly the end of March, we were so anxious for the security of our own coalls, nay, our own capital, that we could not provide sooner for the prefervation of Minorca.–And there is fomething the more melancholy in this, as we knew the natural effect of pur own measures, was to kindle this ardent de fire of revenge in the enemy. Common sense requiring, when we itruck our blow, that we should have been prepared for all conlequences: or, in case such a preparation was out of our power, forbidding us to strike ac all: unless, instead of reducing and humbling the enemy, it had been our bufiness to reduce and humble ourselves.
But not to expatiate on points not immediately before us, Admiral Byng's conduct, and the defence of it, by the author of the Appeal to the People, in his favour, are the poiots last treated of by this impartial examiner : who does not seem to think our military operations in America, to be any part of his province. And herein his impartiality is spun so exceedingly, fine, that it requires a very good eye to discern a thread of it. For tho he expresses in very strong terms, his detestation of the treatment Mr. Byng has met with, from that many headed monster the rabble, and of condemning any supposed criminal before trial, yet he certainly takes as ftrong a part againīt the Admiral ; making him the one man that is singly chargeable with the whole mifcarriage in the Mediterranean ;-hesitating first, as if loch to give his fault a name, yet, in the same breath, placing is in the most odious light; and entering, not over candidly, into the particulars of the action he is to be tried for: which none of Byng's advocates have, as yet, touched upon. But inconsistency, in this particular case, may, perhaps, be meritorious; and it may not become those, not initiated into the mysteries of flate, eren to hint at an escape in those that are.
Here then let us drop the curtain ; without so much as presum-s ing to alk, how one part of the Administration, and one of the individuals in their confidence, (as in this piece the Author him.. self informs us was the case) came to be furnished with a letter of intelligence, dated December 24, importing, that the French were
equipping a squadron of twelve ships of the line, (which, it seems, was the truth) whe. another part of it would never allow of more than eight? or should be to early in the secret of their deftination to Minorca, when Mr. Byng's first instructions, dated March 30, presume their real destination to be for North-America ; and the Admiralty send him the extract of a letter, dated so late as March 6, from the British Minister at Turin, to the Secratery of State, containing such advice, as an article of news; which required him to be fo much the more expeditious in his prepara , tions ?- This enlightened Author has told us, That "circumstaniced as we were, every poflible evil could not be guarded against; and that, under such alternatives of danger and distress, it would not have been reasonable to leave the vital parts exposed, only to save a limb. Acquiescence, not expoftulation, it seems, will become us belt ; and whether we have, as yet, escaped the horns of this terrible Dilemma, who shall declares
X. Some further Particulars in relation to the Cafe of Admiral Byng; from original papers. By a Gentleman of Oxford. 8vo. fs. Lacy.
By the number of mistakes, and absurdities, which have eft caped the press, in this performance, one would think the author of it had never communicated his thoughts to the Public before: but if he has not been a dealer in paper and print, it may be safely pronounced, nevertheless, that he is no novice in the art of writing, nor deficient in any point of political knowlege, which might be of service to his caale. He has thought fit to conceal his name, it is true, as all other writers on this nice and delicate case, have, in like manner, chosen to do; but then he fairly acknowleges himself to be one of Mr. B's friends, and, by the materials
into his hands, appears to be deep in his confidence. It fol. lows, therefore, that the use he makes of them, must partake of a friend's prejudices : and we are not to wonder, that, presuming the Admiral to be innocent, he not only complains of the usage he has met with, but, over and above, endeavours to account for it, ac the expence of those whom he supposes to be his determined enemies, for the sake of their own preservation. The method this friend takes to defend him, is, indeed, of the most artful kind; and, according to the Author of the Impartial Reflections on his case, in his supplement occasioned by this piece, forms a very Atriking contrait in his favour, to the procedure of his said fuppoled enemies.
The Admiral, it seems, had been charged in certain minifterial news papers, with having deferred failing from England, till very pressing letters had been sent him from the Admiralty ; bue his friend gives such a detail of his conduct, from the time of his fercing fail, as, if true, not only evinces the fallhood of that charge, but transfers all that could be urged on the head of delay, to his superiors at the Admiralty board : his commiffion not being given him till the 17th of March ; his orders, tho' promised on the 23d, not being sent till April i ; and his
whole stay at Portsmouth being but fifteen days : during which time, it is faid, he was obliged to man other thips before his own ; and was referred to the hospitals, and tenders not arrived, and but two of which did arrive while he remained there, from Liverpool and Ireland, to complete the deficiencies in his complement. This neglect of him, and his commission, is rendered so much the more remarkable, by the addition of a list of twelve ships of the line fover and above Mr. Byng's squadron) then lying at Spithead, all fall manned, or nearly so, and four of them over. manned, besides those in the harboar. His being obliged to set ashore all his marines, and to take on board Lord Robert Bertie's regiment of fuzileers, to do duty in their stead, is also thrown in, as another remarkable: to which is added, the arrival of the Intrepid, one of his squadron, from the Nore, (but four days before he set fail) not only destitute of stores, provisions, water, &c. but without notice of being destined to such a voyage ; and in so crazy à condition as to be utterly unfit for it, according to the representation of her own commander.
The many ftrange delays imputed to him, in the course of the voyage, are also accounted for by a course of interruptions, occafioned as well by calms as contrary winds. And whereas the Admiral had been farther charged with losing seven days at Gibraltar, when the utmolt expedition was necessary, it is here thewn, he was there but six: for though he arrived there on the ad of May, he did not land till the 3d, and he set sail on the eighth in the morning ; every one of which days, we are given to underftand, had its proportion of necessary buliness. For, here he had the first positive intelligence, that the French armament from Toulon, consisting of twelve ships of the line, instead of fix or eight, the number at home supposed impossible for their utmost strength to exceed) five frigates, &c. convoying eighteen thousand foldiers, had not only been directed to, but were in actual poffeffion of, the island of Minorca, excepting Fort St. Philip, which it was also believed could not fail of falling into their hands. His instructions had been before represented, as founded on fuppofitions only; of which, that stated as the most probable was, that the French de signed to flip through the Straits of Gibraltar, in their way to North America : so that this friend and advocate of the Admi. ral's will needs have it, that the true fate of things proving so widely different from the suppositions entertained of them at home, he was from thence forward under a necessity to proceed discretionaliy, or not to proceed at all.
As to his business on shore, we find it was to consult with Mr. Fowke, Governor of Gibraltar.--Special orders from the War. Omce, for the said Governor, had been brought by the, fleet": and Mr. Byng himself bad also supplemental orders from the Admiralty, which, from the nature of the service, ought to have tallied exactly with them. Our Author, however, fteps out of his way, to point ont a notable difference; as also to infinuate,
how great an advantage, both in his conduct at that time, and his trial lince, Mr. Fowke might have derived from it. But be this as it may, unless that can be supposed which ought not to be fupposed, the right inference was made from a comparison of both; namely, That a battalion out of the garrison Thould be joined to the regiment of fuzileers on board the fleet, and together thrown into the place, if it should be found necessary --And that this confultation should also be productive of other difficulties, will not be very astonishing to those who consider, that this battalion was to be drawn from a garrison already thought too weak, and the regiment from a fleet which had received them on board to do duty in place of the marines it had been deprived of, -So that each, by conforming, was to expose his own province of fervice, to pofitive inconvenience, if not danger, for the fake of procuring an eventual advantage to another province, that neither was immediately concerned in.-The engineers of Gibraltar were also consulted the same day, concerning the relief of Fort St. Philip, and gave it as their opinion, that, all cir. cumftances confidered, it appeared to them extremely dangerous, if not impracticable, to throw fuccours into it.
This accounts for one day. The next was employed in a councit of war; which having the faid opinion of the said engineers laid before them, as also the orders aforesaid, both from the Admiralty and War-Office, thought themselves at liberty to dispense with a rigid obedience, for what they were pleased to think the general good of the service. Declining to send the battalion required, because of the supposed impracticability of introducing it, the insufficiency of the number, if introduced, the formidable strength of the enemy's squadron in the way, and the imminent danger the garrison of Gibraltar, already not more than sufficient for common duty, would be exposed to, in case the British feet, by action, or accident, be weakened, &c.
The relief of Mahon, by this decision, being out of the ques. tion, unless it could be compassed by the fleet only, we learn that the Admiral's next concern was to send his dispatches to England, and to make the best provision he could for manning such ships of Mr. Edgecumb's squadron, as, having, by a reserve of good fortune, escaped the enemy, had joined him at Gibraltár, destitute of foldiers and marines, which they had left behind them to ftrengthen the garrison, together with a considerable number of seamen ; which was effected by a draught of two hundred and fixty-seven men, out of the garrison of Gibraltar.—But this, we are to understand, took up the remainder of the 4th, 5th, and 6th: for it was not till the last of those days, thai the Admiral received the lift of them. The 7th, we are left to conclude, was employed in taking them on board, watering, &c. and the 8th, in the morning, he fet fail. It is thus his itay at Gibraltar is accounted for-and, for the rest, his friend proceeds to thew, that, instead of falling in with the enemy by accident only, as is also REVIEW, Nov.1756.
laid to his charge, he had no other business in the Mediterranean than to find them. That, accordingly, having, in his way, taken the belt method he could, to obtain intelligence concerning them, and also to open a channel of communication, at least, with General Blakeney, tho' he had not time to effect it, he did, on their appearing in light, make the necessary difpofitions to engage them; that he did engage them; and that his behaviour in the action will, in due time, be fully justified: waving particulars, to avoid throwing away the materials of his defence.
His return to Gibraltar comes next under consideration; and as a fult acquittal of him on that head, the unanimous refolutions of the council of war, held on board the Ramillies, on every question relating either to the relief of Fort St. Philip, the covering Gibraltar, or a second attack of the French fleet, signed by all the officers the council was composed of, is inserted at large. And to this topic succeeds, a brief of the measures taken by the Admiral, on his return to Gibraltar, on finding Commodore Broderick, with a reinforcement there, in order to go a second time in quest of the enemy, and to carry two battalions along
with bim, for the service unperformed, and unprovided for, before ; but which he was prevented from carrying into execution, by the superceding orders brought by Sir Edward Hawke. After which, taking it for granted, that he has fully justified the Admiral's conduct in every thing but the action itself, he undertakes, boldly enough, to lay open the origin of the procedure, both against him and Mr. Fowke, which he derives from the several clauses, or paragraphs, in the Admiral's firft dispatch, and in the council of war, held at Gibraltar ; which import, that the measures enjoined in their orders came too late to produce any effect: and that if the squadron then sent, had been sent * before the French landed, they would not have been able to have landed at all.
This, according to him, made those in the first digestion of business answerable for all events; and therefore they resolved to treat these indirect accusers of theirs, as the national delinquents in their stead.- Por proofs, he cites the eagerness they discovered to supercede the Admiral, on no better evidence than an ex. tract of the enemy's account, passed through the hands of one Frenchified foreign minister abroad, to another Frenchified foreign minister at home, unauthenticated in any respect whatsoever, and without waiting to see in what manner he was able to do himself and his country justice.-The garbling and mutilating his dispatch, when it did come to hand; the adding false and illusive lists of the two fleets, at the end of it; the causing to be pub. Tished, the same evening, the invective against his conduct, above alluded to, and exciting the populace againt him by every other
* Of which opinion, it appears, Sir Benjamin Keene alfo was, if we may judge by his letter to the Admiral, inserted in this friends by performance. id