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which service be used such diligence and activity, and joined our feet with such unexpected dispatch, that the saving of that city was entirely owing to it. He assisted in the other enterprizes of that campaign, and commanded the ships detached for the reduction of Carthagera, and Alicant, which he accomplished.
In 1707, he served in the second post under Sir Cloudsly Shovel, at the siege of Toulon; and narrowly escaped shipwreck in his return home, October 22d, when that officer was lost. For being the next ship to him, and finding the admiral's lights all out of a sudden, he was apprised of his misfortune, and with an admirable presence of mind, immediately set his topsails, put out the same lights the admiral bad, and steered a different course, and the fleet followed him.
He was constituted admiral of the Blue on January 26th, 1707-8, and soon after commanded the squadron that was fitted out to prevent the invasion designed against Scotland by the Pretender, with a French army from Dunkirk; in which he succeeded by arriving off the Frith of Edinburgh, before their troops could land, and obliged them to return to Dunkirk, with their troops in so distressed a condition, that all the hospitals and convents of Dunkirk, Furnes, and Bergue, were too small for the ac. commodation of their sick.
For this important service, on April 21st, 1708, Sir Patrick Johnston, at London, in the name of the Magistrates of Edinburgh, presented him with the freedom of that city in a gold box, . with the arms of the city on the side, and on the cover whereof were engraven the following words, viz. “ The Lord Provost, Bailiffs, and Town Council of Edinburgh, did present these letters of Bourgeoisie to Sir George Byng, Admiral of the Blue, in grati. tude to him for delivering, under her Majesty's auspicious influence, this island from a foreign invasion, and defeating the designs of a French fleet at the mouth of the Frith of Edinburgh, March 13th, 1708."
This present was accompanied with a letter from Sir Samuel Macklellan, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, wherein he desires the admiral, “ to accept of it as a mark of their high respect to him, who had been the happy instrument of so seasonable a deliverance of this island, for which his memory would be honoured by future ages." All which is set forth in our Gazette, April 26th, 1708, No. 4430.
On his return from this expedition, the Queen was pleased
to offer him the place of one of the Prince's council in the admiralty, which he then declined.
He continued to command that summer in the Channel; and upon the arrival of Mary-Anne, daughter of the Emperor Leopold, at Spithead, September 25th, 1708, on her way to consummate her marriage with John V. King of Portugal, her Majesty went immediately on board the Royal Anne, where Sir George Byng received her, and had the honour of conducting her to Lisbon, where a commission was sent him to be admiral of the White.
In 1709, he commanded in chief her Majesty's fleet in the Mediterranean; and after his return to England, was, on November 8th, 1709, made one of the commissioners of the admiralty, and continued so till near the time of the Queen's death, when not falling in within the measures of the ministry, he was removed. But on the accession of King George I. be was restored to that employment.
In 1715, a rebellion breaking out in the kingdom, encouraged by the Pretender in person, and secretly supported with arms, and warlike stores, from France, he was appointed to command a squadron, with which he kept such a watchful eye along the French coast, by examining ships, even in their ports, and obtaining orders, from the court of France, to put on shore at Havre de Grace great quantities of arms and ammunition which he had detected to have been shipped there for the Pretender's service, that in reward of his services the King created him a Baronet, gave him a ring of great value, and other marks of his royal favour.
In 1717, upon the discovery of some secret practices of the ministers of Sweden against this kingdom, he was sent with a squadron into the Baltic, and prevented the Swedes appearing at sea.
Io 1718, he was made admiral and commander in chief of the feet, and sent with a squadron into the Mediterranean, for the protection of Italy, against the further invasion of the Spaniards, who had the year before surprised Sardinia, and had this year landed an army in Sicily. Whereupon he gave a total overthrow to their fleet on the coast of Sicily; for which action he was bo. noured with a letter from the King, written with his own hand; and received congratulatory letters from the Emperor and the King of Sardinia, and was further honoured by his Imperial Majesty with his picture set in diamonds. He reinained some time in those seas, for composing and adjusting the differences between the several powers concerned, being vested with the character of plenipotentiary to all the Princes and States of Italy. In that year and the next, he supported the German arms in their expedition to Sicily, and enabled them, by his assistance, to subdue the greatest part of that island. When matters tended to an accommodation, in 1720, by the King of Spain's accession to the quadruple alliance, and a convention was signed at the Hague for a cessation of hostilities, such confidence was placed in him, and regard shewn to his proceedings, that it was expressly mentioned in the treaty, that nothing therein should derogate from any stipulations he might have made by virtue of his plenipotentiary powers, which should be in full effect, notwithstanding the said treaty; and when, in consequence of the convention concluded between him and the generals of the Imperial and Spanish armies, the kingdoms of Sicily and Sardinia were to be evacuated by the Spaniards, he arbitrated so equally between them, that the King of Spain expressed his great satisfaction in his conduct to the British court. He afterwards proceeded to Sardinia, to be present at the surrender of that island to the Duke of Savoy, stipulated by the quadruple alliance, in exchange for Sicily, in which, as well as all his other concerns in those parts, his behaviour was very acceptable to that Prince, whose acknowledgments were accom. panied with his picture set io diamonds.
After the performing so many signal services, he attended his Majesty, by his command, at Hanover, where he arrived the middle of August, 1720, and was received with the most gracious expressions of favour and satisfaction. On October 21st, 1720, he was constituted rear-admiral of Great Britain, and treasurer of the navy. On January 20th, 1720-21, he was sworn of his Majesty's most honourable privy-council, at St. James's; and on September gth, 1721, was created a Baron, and Viscount.
The preamble of his Lordship’s patent is as follows:
As the grandeur and stability of the British empire depend chiefly upon knowledge and experience in maritime affairs, we esteem those worthy of the highest honours, who acting under our influence, exert themselves in maintaining our dominion over the sea. It is for this reason that we have determined to advance. to the degree of peerage our trusty and well-beloved counsellor
· Bill. Signat. 8 Geo. I.
Sir George Byng, Knt. and Bart. who being descended from an ancient family in Kent, and educated from his youth in the sea-, service, hath through several posts arrived to the highest station and command in our navy, by the strength of his own abilities, and a merit distinguished by our predecessors, and ourselves, in the many important services, which he has performed with remarkable fidelity, courage, and success. In the late vigorous wars, which raged so many years in Europe; wars fruitful of naval combats and expeditions ; there was scarce any action of consequence wherein he did not bear a principal part, nor were any dangers or difficulties so great, but he surmounted them by his exquisite conduct, and a good fortune that never failed him. Particularly when a storm was gathering in France, and it was uncertain upon what part of the coast it would fall, with wonderful sagacity and diligence he flew to the very place of danger, rescuing our capital city of Scotland from the imminent attack of a French squadron, which had many rebels, and numerous forces, on board; and by his very appearance defeated the vain hopes of the enemy, compelling them to relinquish their disappointed en, terprize, and to seek their safety by a flight towards their own ports, attended with loss. With no less vigilance he repressed, not long since, the like machinations of the same traitors in the ports of France, who were so disconcerted at his presence, as to abandon the schemes they had projected; for which prudent service we conferred on him the dignity of Baronet, the first mark of our royal favour. Moreover, lately, when new contentions were springing up in Italy, and the discord of Princes was on the point of embroiling Europe again in war, he did, with singular felicity and conduct, interpose with our squadron, crushing at one blow the laboured efforts of Spain to set up a power at sea, and advanced the reputation of our arms in the Mediterranean to such a pitch, that our flag gave law to the contending parties, and enabled us to re-settle the tranquillity that had been disturbed. It is just, therefore, that we should distinguish with higher titles a subject who has so eminently served us and his country, both as monuments of his own merit, and to influence others into a love and pursuit of virtue.
Know ye therefore, &c.
In 1725, he was installed one of the Knight Companions of the Bath, on the revival of that most ancient and honourable order.
In 1727, his late Majesty, on his accession to the crown, placed him at the head of his naval affairs, by making him first lord commissioner of the admiralty. And in that high station he died, on the 17th of January, 1732-3, in the seventieth year of his age, and was buried at Southill in Bedfordshire.
I shall end my account of this Lord with an extract of his character, from a book published after his decease, An account of the Expedition of the British Fleet to Sicily; in which the author, who was well known to him, says, “ To give some description of his person, he was of a slender constitution, but well supplied with spirits, which did not display themselves so much in gaiety of conversation (for he was modest in his nature) as in activity in all the duties and functions of life, or business, in which he was indefatigable; and by a continued habit of industry bad hardened and inured a body, not naturally strong, to patience of any fatigue. He had made no great proficiency in school-learning (wbich the early age of going to sea seldom admits of) but his great diligence, joined with excellent natural parts, and a just sense of honour, made him capable of conducting difficult negociations and commissions, with proper dignity and address. The late King, who knew his abilities, used to say to his ministers, when they applied for instructions to be sent to him for his guidance on certain important occasions, that he would send him none, for he knew how to act without any; and, indeed, all the measures be took abroad were so exact and just, as to square with the counsels and plan of policy at home. The cause of the Emperor being become the cause of his master, he served the interests of that Prince with a zeal and fidelity that stood a pattern to his own subjects. He lived in such harmony with the imperial viceroys and generals, as has been seldom seen among fellow-subjects united in command, the want of which has proved the ruin of many important expeditions. He was incapable of performing his duty in a cold or negligent manner; and, when any service was committed to his management, he devoted his whole time and application to it; nor could any fatigue or indisposition of body ever divert or interrupt his attention from any point that required present dispatch. To this it might be in great measure owing, that he was never unfortunate in any undertaking, nor miscarried in any service that was entrusted to his direction. For whoever will trace upwards to the springs and causes of public or private events shall find (except where the immediate finger of Providence is visible) that what is usually called ill-luck, is generally