Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 40.djvu/18

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on the coast of Norway and at the capture of the Dutch East Indiamen [see Montagu, Edward, first Earl of Sandwich]. Afterwards, with his flag in the Fairfax, he commanded a strong squadron for the winter guard and the protection of trade. In January 1665–6 it was reported from Portsmouth that ‘by sending out ships constantly to cruise about, he hath kept this coast very free from all the enemy's men-of-war’ (Gazette, No. 18); and again, some weeks later, ‘his vigilance is such that hardly anything can escape our frigates that come through the Channel’ (ib. No. 39). In March he convoyed the Hamburg trade from the Elbe to the Thames; and in April when the fleet assembled for the summer, under Prince Rupert and the Duke of Albemarle, he hoisted his flag in the Victory as vice-admiral of the red squadron (State Papers, Dom. Charles II, cliv. 128). On 29 May he was detached to the westward with the prince (ib. clvii. 40, 41; cf. Monck, George, Duke of Albemarle; Rupert, Prince), and was thus absent during the first three days of the great battle off the North Foreland, 1–4 June. On the fourth day, Myngs, in the Victory, led the van, and engaged the Dutch vice-admiral, De Liefde, broadside to broadside, the yardarms of the two ships almost touching. De Liefde's ship was dismasted, whereupon Myngs made an unsuccessful attempt to burn her with a fireship. The Dutch pressed in to support De Liefde; the two admirals, Van Nes and Ruyter, brought up other ships, and the battle raged fiercely. Myngs was shot through the throat. He refused to leave the deck, even to have the wound dressed, but remained standing, compressing it with his fingers till he fell, mortally wounded by another bullet which, passing through his neck, lodged in his shoulder (Brandt, Vie de Michel de Ruiter, pp. 359, 363; State Papers, Dom. Charles II, clviii. 48; Pepys, 8 June 1666). The wound was, it was hoped on the 7th, ‘without danger;’ but on the 10th Pepys recorded the news of the admiral's death. As he was buried in London on the 13th, it would seem probable that he died at his own house in Goodman's Fields, Whitechapel. Pepys, who was at the funeral, noted that no person of quality was there but Sir William Coventry [q. v.], and described how ‘about a dozen able, lusty, proper men came to the coach side with tears in their eyes, and one of them, that spoke for the rest, said to Sir W. Coventry, “We are here a dozen of us that have long known and loved and served our dead commander, Sir Christopher Myngs, and have now done the last office of laying him in the ground. We would be glad we had any other to offer after him and in revenge of him. All we have is our lives; if you will please to get his Royal Highness to give us a fireship among us all, choose you one to be commander, and the rest of us, whoever he is, will serve him, and if possible, do that that shall show our memory of our dead commander and our revenge”’ (Diary, 13 June; cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 28, 29 June 1666). ‘The truth is,’ continues Pepys, ‘Sir Christopher Myngs was a very stout man, and a man of great parts, and most excellent tongue among ordinary men; and as Sir W. Coventry says, could have been the most useful man at such a pinch of time as this. … He had brought his family into a way of being great; but dying at this time, his memory and name will be quite forgot in a few months as if he had never been, nor any of his name be the better by it; he having not had time to will any estate, but is dead poor rather than rich.’ By his will (at Somerset House, Mico, 167) he left 300l. to Mary, his daughter by his first wife; and his lands, in the parish of Salthouse, to his second wife, Rebecca, and after her death, to his son by her, Christopher Myngs, who commanded the Namur in the battle of Malaga in 1704; was afterwards commissioner of the navy at Portsmouth, and died in 1725, leaving issue (Charnock, ii. 188; Le Neve, Pedigrees of the Knights; Marshall, Genealogist, i. 38–9; will, proved February 1725–6). There was also a daughter, Rebecca, born of the second wife. The John Myngs whom he requested to have appointed surgeon of the Gloucester (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 27 May 1664) may have been his brother. Myngs's portrait, by Sir Peter Lely, one of those mentioned by Pepys, 18 April 1666, is in the Painted Hall at Greenwich; there is a contemporary engraved portrait in Priorato's ‘Historia di Leopoldo Cesare’ (1670, ii. 714).

[The memoir in Charnock's Biog. Nav. i. 82 is very imperfect; the details of Myngs's career are only to be found in the Calendars of State Papers, Domestic; and, more fully, in the State Papers themselves. There are also many notices of him in Pepys's Diary. The writer has also to acknowledge some notes and suggestions kindly furnished by the Rev. G. W. Minns, himself a member of the same family, by Mr. G. E. Cokayne, and by Mr. Daniel Hipwell. The spelling of the name here followed is that of Myngs's signature. It is not improbable that he adopted it as a difference from that of the elder branch of his family, which retained the form Mynnes. But other writers have invented a very great number of diverse spellings—among them Minns, Mims, Minnes, Mennes—