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a manner as to irritate those who had neglected the first intimation furnished them by General Blakeney, the governor of the island. "Even should it be found practicable," says the Admiral in his official letter to the Admiralty," it would be very impolitic to throw any men into St. Philip's Fort, as it would only add to the number that must fall into the hands of the enemy." It is said, that on the receipt of his document, the Admiralty instantly began to adopt measures that would at least remove all blame from themselves; and the officer who had presumed to arraign their plans at the bar of reason, was from that moment doomed to repent his open speaking.


After some time had elapsed, reinforcements were sent out to the Rock; and on the 8th of May, (just a month after the fleet of the enemy made their descent upon Minorca,) Byng sailed from Gibraltar on his unfortunate mission. Tempests arose, and added delay to his arrival, so that he did not reach Minorca until the 18th. On the 19th he sent out frigates to reconnoitre, and, if possible, to open a communication with the besieged garrison. This," said he, "I found impracticable, and they were recalled; and the fleet were ordered to stand towards the enemy." On the 20th, the hazy weather prevented the French fleet from being seen; about noon, however, Byng discovered them, and both fleets instantly formed into their line of battle. The French squadron consisted of twelve sail of the line, and five frigates, carrying together 976 guns, and 955 men, commanded by Galissoniere.

Admiral Byng, it seems, having the advantage of the gale that was blowing hard at the time, ordered his ships "to lead large," and engage the first French ship it was their lot to meet with. His vice-admiral, West, commanded the van, "and," says the Gazette of the time, "that gallant officer began the action with great bravery and judgment, and in a little time forced one of the enemy's ships to quit the line. As Byng was bearing down to engage the enemy, the Intrepid, one of the ships ahead of him, unfortunately had her foremasts shot away, and became unmanageable, which threw the ships astern into some confusion, and occasioned a great space between the van and rear of the British line, and leaving Admiral West's division exposed to the fire of nearly the whole of the French fleet. The smoke prevented Byng from seeing this for some time, but he had no sooner observed it than he ordered other ships from the rear to their assistance." Towards night, the French admiral, finding he had the worst of it, bore away with all speed, the English giving him chase to a considerable distance.

It appears that the French account was the first to reach England, and claim the advantage of battle; their papers

declared the English "unwilling to fight;" that the engagement had not been general; that night alone had separated them; and that on the following morning, to their surprise, the English had sailed away.

Byng had called a council of all the officers of his fleet during the night, and from the battered state of his small force, it had been decided that they should withdraw to Gibraltar to refit and communicate with England as to further warfare.

The French_account spread like wildfire through those circles where Byng's enemy's kept their spleen for his complaints; and from this account alone did that Board of naval authority (without waiting to receive Admiral Byng's dispatches) order out officers to sail for the Rock, and their commission was to arrest Byng and West, and send them home to England as prisoners.

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On the 26th of July, those hardy seamen who had been faithfully serving their country, arrived at Portsmouth. Byng was instantly placed in confinement; and the report of that day inform us, every indignity that malicious foes could invent was inflicted upon him.” On his arrival at Portsmouth, his younger brother, Colonel E. Byng, hastened down to meet him, and was so struck with the abuse that assailed him on every side, that sudden illness seized him in the presence of the Admiral, and on the day following he died.

The court-martial sat on board the St. George, in Portsmouth Harbour, from the 28th of December, 1756, till the 27th of January, 1757 (Sundays excepted); and as Captain Keppel stated in the House of Commons, that himself and other members of the court-martial wished to be released from their oath of secrecy, that they might reveal the grounds on which they recommended Byng to mercy. A bill was brought in for that purpose, and passed with little opposition; but, the lords threw it out, and Byng's fate was settled.

He was shot, as we have before said, on board the Monarque. Before the fatal moment arrived, he placed the following letter in the hands of the Secretary of the Admiralty:

"A few moments will now deliver me from the virulent

persecution, and frustrate the further malice of my enemies. Nor need I envy them a life which will be subject to the sensations of my injuries, and the injustice they have done me; persuaded as I am, that justice will be done to my reputation hereafter. The manner and cause of keeping up the popular clamour and prejudice against me will be seen through. Happy for me, at this my last moment, that I know my own innocence, and am conscious that no part of

my country's misfortunes are owing to myself. I heartily wish the shedding of my blood may contribute to the happiness and service of my country; but cannot resign my just claim to a faithful discharge of my duty, according to the best of my judgment, and the utmost exertion of my ability for His Majesty's honour, and my country's service. I am sorry my endeavours were not attended with more success, and that the armament under my command proved too weak to succeed in an expedition of such moment. Truth HAS prevailed over calumny and falsehood, and justice has wiped off the ignominious stain of my supposed want of courage, and the charge of disaffection.

"My heart acquits me of these crimes; but who can be presumptuously sure of his own judgment? If my crime be an error in judgment, or differing in opinion from my judges; and if that error in judgment should be on their side, God forgive them as I do; and may the distress of their minds, and their uneasiness of conscience, which, in justice to me, they have represented, be believed and subside, as my resentment has done. The supreme Judge sees all hearts and motives, and to Him I submit the justice of my cause.


"On board His Majesty's Ship, Monarque, Portsmouth Harbour, Fourteenth March, 1757."

And now we must throw the Grecian painter's veil over this painful detail; we have entered more fully into the particulars of the Minorca affair than our space can well afford, to set the question explicitly before the reader.

We now have to call attention to circumstances that present themselves as being somewhat singular, in connection with a smart action, fought this year, 1757; they must not be passed over in our flying sketch of naval matters, without a place.

The Augusta, 60 guns, was commanded by Captain Forrest, and belonged to the Jamaica Station, where Rear-Admiral Cotes held command. She was ordered out by Cotes, to cruise off Cape Francois, where the French had mustered a fleet of merchantmen to sail in concert for Europe.

Captain Forrest had under his command the Edinburgh, 64 guns, commanded by Captain Langdon, and the Dreadnought, 60 guns, commanded by Captain Suckling. From what knowledge the admiral had of the strength of the French fleet, he considered the complement sufficient; and Forrest and his brave companions of the Edinburgh and Dreadnought, proceeded to the scene of battle. They soon found that the French, commanded by Admiral Kersaint, had just received a reinforcement; they consisted of seven ships-of-war, and a

host of merchant volunteers. The war vessels alone were manned with 3,850 men. It was about 7 a.m. when the Dreadnought signalled the approach of this superior force; and Forrest having called a council of war with the captains and commanders of the other two vessels on the deck of the Augusta, he is reported to have said, "Well, gentlemen, you see they are come out to engage us;" when Captain Suckling replied, "I think it would be a pity to disappoint them."

Now it must be remarked here that this was the 21st of October, 1757, and the particular day in Captain Suckling's history as the only time he was ever engaged in a naval exploit that is adorned with the laurels of fame. And the great Nelson, Captain Suckling's nephew, forty-eight_years from this very day, finished his victorious career at the Battle of Trafalgar! The famous Horatio also commenced his ocean life under the auspices of his venerated uncle, Maurice Suckling.

And after the council, as stated above, the squadron of the three British ships made sail for the fullest breast of the enemy! "The engagement lasted without intermission for two hours and a half, by which time the French commodore in the Intrepide, made signal for one of the ships to tow his ship out of the action, and the whole French fleet made sail to leeward.”* The English had suffered much, as may naturally be expected, from the heavy power of the enemy; and Captain Forrest, sorely against the will of himself and that of his brave comrades, returned to Jamaica to repair. The French loss during this action is reported as being "inconceivably severe; amounting to near six hundred killed and wounded!" Several of their ships were dismasted, and they were completely disabled by these three brave commanders and their undaunted crews.

It was some time in November of the same year that Admiral Cotes again commissioned Captain Forrest to sail out for the bay that lies between Gonave and Hispaniola; where, according to information received, was a rich fleet and convoy, about to sail from Port au Prince. Forrest made for the bay, and then disguised his ship with tarpaulins, pretending to be a Dutch ship-of-war; he also displayed that nation's colour. He now discovered two sail a-head, one of which fired a gun, and the other made sail in shore towards Leogane Bay. He soon observed a sail of eight vessels to leeward, near Petit Guave. Forrest quickly placed the Augusta alongside the vessel that fired the gun; hailed the captain, and cautioned him, on pain of being sunk, not to

* Allen.

alarm the rest; opening his lower deck ports to show that he was ready to make good his threat. The ship yielded to him without an effort at resistance: he then took her crew out and ordered an English lieutenant and thirty-five men into her, and directed the officer to stand in for Petit Guave, to oppose any of the enemy that might make for that port. The Augusta then made a rapid sail after the main body of the fleet; was soon in the midst of them, and fired quickly and effectively at them all, alternately.

The French vessels returned his salutes without the least spirit-they appeared horror stricken. Three of the largest struck; and Forrest actually made use of them for pursuing and capturing their comrades! One out of the eight alone escaped. He took, with the ships, 112 guns, and 415 men!

Who can read this account and say to himself," that bold captain was my countryman, a British naval officer," and not feel proud of the bravery and lion-hearted strength that ventured out on those lonely seas to fight singly and valiantly for his far off home, old England?

We should, however, never lose sight of the grand ultimatum of such feats as the one we have just recounted; namely, that the heroic deeds of our ancestors was not a vain and cruel effort for the establishment of their own heroic fame, or the mere glory of the country for whom they fought and bled. No; they devoted their high purposes for a nobler end-that of adding safety to our many English privileges. But let the skill of her scientific navigators be forgotten; the annals of their glory be despised; and her people lost in a mawkish notion of "peaceful fraternity;" and England, the boast of freedom, the land of civilization, will soon discover the necessity for her WOODEN WALLS.

"If all unite, as once we did,

To keep our flag unfurl'd;

Old England then shall fairly bid
Defiance to the world!

But fast will flow our nation's tears,
If lawless hands should seize

The flag that brav'd a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze."

It was in the spring of this year, 1757, that the English sloop, Happy, 8 guns, commanded by Captain Burnet, was attacked by the French ship, Infernal, mounting six 6 pounders, eight 4 pounders, and 6 swivels, with a crew of 75 men. The English captain was well aware of the enemy's superior strength, but having no acquaintance with "the white feather"


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