Resource: … and the Great Byng Battle continues…
“In this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others…”
– Voltaire, “Candide”
“(…) The petition does not call for a pardon and Byng himself said in the days before his death that he did not want one.
“History is there to serve as a marker,” said Tisdale.
“We can’t change history, and we are not asking for it to be, but he was made a political scapegoat … and unjustifiably killed.”
Villagers feel strongly about the case, MP Burt added.
“They want a modern judgment.” (…)”
I fully understand the family’s point of view, and I have to wonder about a society which still gives them grief about an incident which dates back to the mid-18th century (way to hold a grief, folks!) – but how can you make a modern judgement about a case from… 1757?
I’m really of two minds about this – if this case should be ruled in favour of the family, where will the line be drawn in future? Who will be next? History is full of scapegoats. If Admiral Byng has his name cleared, then the same should apply for the many seamen who were executed for a variety of “crimes that we laugh off nowadays. AOW 29, I’m looking at you. Alas, those men didn’t leave wealthy families behind…
Well – if Admiral Byng gets a pardon, I demand the same for Lieutenant Henry Rice. Let’s face it, having your career ruined just because your captain is an arrogant prick and you had your hands in your pockets is harsh. I’m all up for the challenge…