- Museum number
Bronze medal. (whole)
A large fleet: on a cloud above reclines Fame, blowing her trumpet and holding a branch of laurel. (reverse)
Bust of Admiral Edward Vernon, three-quarters, left, hair long, in dress-coat and cravat, the end of which passes through the button-hole of the coat. (obverse)
- Production date
Diameter: 39.000 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Medallic Illustrations 2, published in 1885, states:
On the 19th October, 1739, war was declared against Spain, and in the same year two squadrons were ordered to be equipped, their destination being the South American colonies, which, it was thought, would offer an easy conquest and a rich booty. One squadron, under Commodore Anson, was to sail round Cape Horn and to rifle the shores of Peru; the other, under Admiral Vernon, to attack Porto Bello and the Eastern coast. Porto Bello was the most convenient asylum of the Guarda Costas, whose insolence and cruelty had so much damaged English commerce, and had been the chief cause of the war. Admiral Vernon, who had always been a most violent opponent of the Ministry, somewhat rashly declared in the House of Commons that he could take this place with six ships, and when the opportunity was given him he fortunately succeeded. Commodore Brown was his second in command, and the place surrendered after a siege of two days, 22 November 1739. Having destroyed the fortifications, Vernon re-embarked his men and returned to Jamaica.
In February, 1740, he appeared before Carthagena, which he attacked ineffectually, and proceeded to the mouth of the Chagre river, and took possession of the Fort of that name, after a bombardment of thirty-six hours.
In January, 1741, having been joined by Sir Chaloner Ogle and General Wentworth, and his force having been increased to no less than 115 ships, of which above thirty were line ships, with 15,000 sailors and 12,000 land forces on board, Vernon again sailed for Carthagena. In a few days he became possessed of all the forts which commanded the harbour, and on the 1st
April despatched an account of his proceedings to England, announcing the complete success of the expedition. But here ended his success; for, after a series of blunders and quarrels amongst the Commanders, the troops were re-embarked, and the enterprise abandoned.
Although several months intervened between the first and last of these undertakings the medals have been placed together, because they were considered less as commemorative of the success of the enterprises than expressive of the universal feeling of anger against the Ministry of the day, who were charged with long having allowed the Spaniards to insult and plunder our merchants and interrupt our trade without any effectual attempt at resistance. Sir Robert Walpole was the object of general unpopularity: but the Duke of Argyle was popular because, having joined the Opposition, he was deprived of all his employments. Vernon was exalted into a hero; the freedom of London and other cities was presented to him, his birthday was celebrated, his portrait adorned tavern-signs, drinking-cups, and buttons; he was elected representative for Rochester and Ipswich, and a large series of medals was struck to testify the enthusiasm of the people.
See ‘Old England, a Pictoral Museum of Antiquities’, London (C. Knight), II. 265.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Commemoration of: Porto Bello taken, 1739
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- C&M catalogue number
MB2 (Medallic Illustrations 2) (530) (92)