Admiral Byng and a group of men in discussion around a table with Henry Fox as a fox who holds a balance with numerous names in one paw and a weight in the other. Engraving, 1756.
- [26 July 1756]
About this work
In the scale that Fox holds, the names 'Pitt, 'Leg', Pultney, 'Townshends', (Sir William) 'Beckford', Sr Jno. Philips', 'Sr Henry Ereskin', (Dr)'Lee Hay', outweigh 'innumerable placemen and pensioners'. Fox was Secretary of State in 1756. Admiral John Byng stands at the door holding a roll of paper with the words 'My Lords by these your original instructions & these my still-ungarbled letters I must stand or fall in the judgement of my country'. On the wall beyond hang four pictures inscribed 'Portmahon', 'Bologne betray'd by the E. of Warwick in the Reign of Edward the 6th', 'Calais betrayd by the Council in the Reign of Queen Mary', 'Dunkirk sold by the Council in the reign of Chas the 2d'. On Byng's defeat at Minorca, he summoned a council of war in which he produced an allegedly garbled letter of explanation to the Admiralty. News of his defeat caused him to fall out of favour with the public. He was arrested on arrival at Spithead from Gibralter on 26 July 1757, the day this print is believed to have been produced. He was shot on the quarter deck in Portsmouth Harbour 14 March 1757
Where to find it
Location Status AccessClosed stores