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Tragedy at Sea

Military tribunals, 18th-century style.

Aug 2, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 43 • By JOSEPH F. CALLO
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When the smoke from the Royal Marines’ muskets drifted off Monarque’s quarterdeck, and the corpse of John Byng was removed, there were doubtless sighs of relief from George II and in Whitehall and at the Admiralty. But there was something else as well, something more permanent: the realization that Admiral John Byng was clearly more than a mediocre flag officer. He was someone who, by the quality of his response to his accusers, endorsed a concept that is a given in those societies based on representative governments: civilian control of the military.

Joseph F. Callo is the author of John Paul Jones: America’s First Sea Warrior. 

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