A deliciously rare 18th century document signed by the infamous Admiral John Byng.

Admiral John Byng (1704-1757 executed) was a Royal Navy officer. After joining the navy at the age of thirteen, he participated at the Battle of Cape Passaro in 1718. Over the next thirty years he built up a reputation as a solid naval officer and received promotion to vice-admiral in 1747.

Byng is best known for the loss of Minorca in 1756 at the beginning of the Seven Years’ War. His ships badly needed repair and he was relieved of his command before he could see to his ships or secure the extra forces he required. He was court-martialled and found guilty of failing to "do his utmost" to prevent Minorca falling to the French following the Battle of Minorca.   He was sentenced to death and shot by firing squad on 14 March 1757.

The King did not exercise his prerogative to grant clemency. Following the court martial and pronouncement of sentence, Admiral Byng had been detained aboard the Monarch in the Solent, and on 14 March 1757 he was taken to the quarterdeck  for execution. In the presence of all hands and men from other ships of the fleet in boats surrounding Monarch, the admiral knelt on a cushion and signified his readiness by dropping his handkerchief, whereupon a platoon of Royal Marines shot Admiral John Byng dead

The document relates to the withdrawal of funds from the sinking fund, and also refers to the South Seas annuities.  Alongside is a list of payments to a variety of people, including nobles.

A truly rare document signed by a famous British Admiral who many consider to have been a victim of an early miscarriage of justice,


Bonhams book sale,  December 1996

Afterwards a private naval collection

1749, English


© Copyright 2016 Rob Hall Antiques