John Byng(1704-1757), Admiral
Sitter in 3 portraits
In 1756, at the start of the Seven Years War, Admiral Byng was sent to prevent the French from capturing Minorca. He arrived after a large French force had landed, and a subsequent inconclusive naval battle led to his court martial for failing to 'do his utmost' in pursuit of his duty. He was condemned to death and shot on the quarter-deck of the Monarque in Portsmouth. This led Voltaire to remark that in England it was thought good to kill an admiral from time to time, 'pour encourager les autres'.