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Vernon, Edward 1684-1757

Naval officer; born in Westminster, England, Nov. 12, 1684; served under Admiral Hopson in the expedition which destroyed the French and Spanish fleets off Vigo on Oct. 12, 1702, and was at the naval battle between the French and English off Malaga in 1704. In 1708 he attained the rank of rear-admiral, and remained in active service until 1727, when he was elected to Parliament. He loudly condemned the acts of the ministry, and, in the course of remarks, while arraigning them for their weakness, declared that Porto Bello could be taken with six ships. For this remark he was extolled throughout the kingdom. There was a loud clamor against the ministry, and to silence it they sent Vernon to the West Indies, with the commission of viceadmiral of the blue. With six men-of-war he captured Porto Bello on the day after the attack (Nov. 23, 1739), the English losing only seven men. For this exploit a commemorative medal was struck, bearing an effigy of the admiral on one disk. and a town and six ships on the other.

With twenty-nine ships-of-the-line and eighty small vessels, bearing 15,000 sailors and 12,000 land troops, Vernon sailed from Jamaica (January, 1741) to attack Carthagena, but was repulsed with heavy loss. Twenty thousand men perished, chiefly by a malignant fever. The admiral was afterwards in Parliament several years, and during the invasion of the Young Pretender in 1745 he was employed to guard the coasts of Kent and Suffolk; but soon afterwards, on account of a quarrel with the admiralty, his name was struck from the list of admirals. Lawrence Washington, a brother of General Washington, [44] then a spirited young man of twenty-two, bearing a captain's commission, joined Vernon's expedition in 1741, and because of his admiration for the admiral he named his estate, on the Potomac, Mount Vernon. Admiral Vernon died in Suffolk, England, Oct. 29, 1757.

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