BYNG, John, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Executed 'pour encourager les autres'

BYNG, John (1704-1757). Admiral. Executed on the quarter-deck of the 'Monarque'.
Document Signed, 1 page large folio on vellum, 297 x 330 mm (ca 11½ x 13 inches) with papered seal, 7 April 1756. With a small slip identifying the signer.
A commisision signed as Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, appointing Charles Naylour 4th Lieutenant at Arms of HMS Lancaster, engraved with manuscript insertions.
The month after signing this commission, Byng failed to prevent the French fleet from taking Minorca, for which he was shot on the quarter-deck of the Monarque in Plymouth harbour (prompting Voltaire's celebrated observation that 'dans ce-pays-ci il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres'). In the battle of Minorca HMS Lancaster, of 66 guns, was the third ship in the van, and suffered considerable damage due to the lack of support provided by Byng, commanding the rear. She was later to be commanded by Nelson's uncle, Maurice Suckling. The Lieutenant at Arms was customarily the youngest lieutenant of a ship, charged with instructing, and during battle supervising, the seamen in the use of small arms.
[No: 22447]

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