Lot 295The Trial of Admiral Byng 1757 printed verbatim...

Auction Date: 2/09/2014 at 01pm



The Trial of Admiral Byng 1757 printed verbatim report on the trial of Admiral John Byng – the only British Admiral to be executed, following a Court Marshal which to this day is hotly debated in legal circles on account of the many claims that it was nothing more than a sham trial featuring false witness statements and testimony. Folio 130pp plus19pp appendix listing extensive details of the action which led to Byng’s trial. Modern binding, interior contents appear complete and in good order throughout. Byng was accused of ‘failing to do his utmost’ in the face of the enemy in not holding Fort St Philip during the Battle of Minorca during the war of Spanish Succession. Recently revised articles of war provided a mandatory death penalty. Despite a high level petition to the King for clemency, the whole matter became a political football, with the politicians responsible for the whole affair, such as Lord Liverpool, protecting their own position even if it meant that Byng paid the ultimate price – even the King’s refusal for clemency had more to do with his personal animosity towards the Prime Minister, William Pitt, than justice in the case. As a result, Byng was taken to the quarterdeck of HMS Monarch at anchor in the Solent on March 14 1757 and shot dead by a platoon of Royal Marines. The affair caused such public outrage that eventually the articles of war were amended. Voltaire famously satirised the event in Candide in which the central character is told ‘in this country it is good to kill an admiral from time to time in order to encourage the others.’

Guide Price: £200.00 - £400.00

(Not sold)

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