Copies Of All The Minutes And Proceedings Taken At And Upon The Several Tryals Of Captain George Burrish, Captain Edmund Williams, Captain John Ambrose, Lieutenant Henry Page, Lieutenant Charles Davids, Lieutenant William Griffiths; And Lieutenant Cornelius Smelt, Respectively: Before The Court Martial Lately Held At Chatham: And All The Proceedings Relating Thereunto.




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Item Description

Folio. 8.75 x 13.5 inches. [2] + 150 + [2] + 72 + [195 + [1] pp. Text in double columns. Separate half titles, pagination and registers. Rebound in quarter leather, over early marbled boards; spine rebacked, in compartments with original contrasting maroon title label, gilt ('Tryals'). Some wear to boards and spotting of endpapers and preliminaries, but otherwise a very good crisp copy. Decorated by title page and end piece vignette. Word by word reports of the trials of naval officers, held on board HMS London, under the presidency of Sir Chaloner Ogle, Admiral of the Blue and Commander in Chief of HM Ships in the Thames, Medway and at the Buoy of the Nore, off Chatham, 1745. The proceedings related to the unsatisfactory outcome, from Britain's point of view, of the indecisive Battle of Toulon, 1744, against a Franco-Spanish fleet (the French had not yet formally declared war), an engagement during the War of the Austrian Succession. The British fleet, under Admiral Thomas Matthews, withdrew to Menorca with considerable damage to the ships and left a large part of the Mediterranean under the control of the Spanish and the French( who then formally declared war). Britain regarded this as a humiliating defeat and the Admiral and several captains and junior officers were tried by court martial for disobedience to commands and breaches of duty, failure to engage the enemy, contributing to the 'Miscarriage' of the fleet. The four lieutenants were briefly tried and all acquitted. Captain George Burrish of the Dorsetshire and Captain John Ambrose of the Rupert were found guilty of failing to do their utmost and both cashiered from the Navy. Captain Edmund Williams of the Royal Oak was also found guilty of failure to do his duty to the utmost, but because of various mitigating circumstances, including defective eyesight, he was allowed to continue on half pay, although unfit to be further employed at sea. Dissatisfaction with the trial results led to Parliament amending the naval Articles of War in 1749, so that naval officers, found guilty of not doing their utmost to engage the enemy, were to be sentenced to death. This led to the notorious execution of Admiral Byng in 1757. A very detailed original source for this engagement, full of fascinating detail of mid-eighteenth century naval warfare. (ESTCT114204).

[Stock No. 26153]

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