Aug. 1756. Adm. Byng brought to Greenwich. Drollery.
A party of sixty horse of the Blues, arrived at Portsmouth Aug. 1. to guard Adm. Byng to London. They set out with him about half an hour after three in the morning of the 5th: but were met at Hilsley green, near Port-bridge, by a messenger, with an order for their return to Portsmouth; which they accordingly did. This was thought a very prudent step, as vast numbers of the populace were assembled in different gangs, extending as far as Petersfield, which is eighteen miles, and would have increased from thence to London. Above a thousand persons, prepared with pitchforks, clubs, &c. were assembled at one place, in hopes of paying their respects, says the Evening Advertiser. He set out again with his guard at three in the morning of the 9th, and arrived at Greenwich about four in the morning of the 12th. He came to the castle at Kingston about one o’clock in the morning of the day before, and set out thence between twelve and one in the morning of the 12th, passing through Clapham, Camberwell, Peckham, &c. So that they seem to have made the journey in the night-time. He is confined in an apartment adjoining to Greenwich hospital, properly guarded.
Though the nation is highly incensed against this man, and seriously wish to see him exemplarily punished, several pieces of drollery have appeared.— Two of them follow. The first is founded on his letter to the admiralty. [294.]
By a general court of sailors, held the 29th of June 1756, at the Lion and Anchor in Wapping, it was determined, that Mr Bung, Chef d’Escadre in the Middle Seas, should be exemplarily punished for cowardice, and the reasons for such punishment be made public.
By order. T. BOATSWAIN
1. THAT he is highly guilty, for ordering the Deptford out of the line; as he ought to have taken all advantages to destroy the French, and not risked a battle on equal terms, when he could do otherwise.
2. Because he did not lead the van, but gave the command, and his post of honour and danger, to his Rear Chef d’Escadre; whereas he should have led the van, and by example spirited on the other ships: which shews he did not intend any harm to the enemy.
3. That he might have prevented his ships from being raked by the enemy, as he had the windward gage, but did not prevent it.
4. That he suffered his own ship (according to his own words) to sustain the fire of the enemy for some time before he engaged his adversary.
5. That we suspect this fourth article, because it is impossible for two capital ships to engage, without having a man killed or wounded.
6. That it must be owing to ill conduct, for one single ship to put the whole line in disorder by only losing her fore-topmast; whereas it might have been repaired in a few hours.—N.B. What became of her bowlings, or had she any to her sails?
7. As the enemy was not to be seen for five days after, he might have landed his forces, or at least peeped into Mahon; but as he did neither, we think he was afraid of meeting the enemy again off the mouth of the harbour.—But it seems it was not his fighting day.
8. By this ill conduct he left the enemy masters of the seas.
9. We look upon his account that the enemy sailed as three to one, to be a mistake, owing to a panic; because, if it had been true, they had it in their power, in the attempt they made, to have gained the windward gage, by eating us out of the wind.
10. That it does not appear that Mr Bung intended any skirmish, if the French had not rudely begun firing upon his ships.
11. That as the said Bung had the windward gage, he might have run close on board the enemy, and with his croud of sail becalmed them: the consequence would have been a victory, as their ships could not have edged away three feet in an hour.
12. As he had thirteen sail of the line to the enemy’s twelve, and fifty-two guns more than they, he ought not to have acted as a Fribble, and more especially as Mahon was at stake.
For these and many more reasons we expect he should be brought immediately to the gangway, to receive his reward for misdemeanours so malignant.
A letter from the committee of sailors to Admiral B—, at Spithead.
Lion and Anchor in Wapping, July 10.
Please your Honour,
The report of your arrival gives us much cheer; but to hear that you are jamm’d in the bilboes, seems as if the storm was coming. If your Honour had but grappled with Galissoniere, we think you might weather this hurricane.
Do not be run aground by landmen; sooner stave your cargo, lighten your vessel [heart], pump out the bulge, weigh anchor, stand to sea, and let fly your ensigns [orders], that we may descry them; and if so be that we find you have obeyed them, why we will stand by you as long as a plank is left to swim on.— Zoons, let those founder who have rotten bottoms.
If the fair weather sparks of Whitehall have anchored in foul ground, haul the wind, and sheer off with St George’s colours,and leave them to be brought to the jeers that deserve it.
Take out the tompkin of your mouth, and fire away loud as thunder; that by the report all folks may hear that you have done your duty, executed your orders bravely, and behaved gallantly.
Stand the deck till the clouds break, and let your honour and courage stick together like pitch, and so mayhap these sweet-scented jessamy folks may run their leaky vessels aground, and founder on cry land.
Tack about, and leave them to be exposed to the climate, that they may be condemned as unfit for future service.
If you find the storm so great as to disable you from carrying sail any longer, and obliged to quit the helm, why, fasten down your hatches, say a short prayer, and die like a man.
I am, for the committee,