A New History of Jamaica from the Earliest Accounts, to the Taking of Port of Bello

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Author: Vernon, Edward (1684-1757) and Charles Leslie

Year: 1740

Publisher: Printed for J Hodges

Place: London


iv+340 pages with 2 folding maps. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 5") bound in original leather with six raised spine bands and gilt lettering to spine. Second edition which contained an additional chapter, first published in Edinburgh (1739).

Little is known about the anonymous author of this book, later identified as one Charles Leslie, whose family had strong Caribbean interests. In thirteen 'letters', Leslie covers Jamaica's early colonial history, its laws, the lives of its governors and the exploits of famous Caribbean pirates. He provides important evidence for the conditions in which slaves were traded and kept, and describes the slaves' beliefs and customs.

Admiral Edward Vernon was a British naval officer. He had a long and distinguished career, rising to the rank of admiral after 46 years service. As a vice admiral during the War of Jenkins' Ear, in 1739 he was responsible for the capture of Porto Bello, seen as expunging the failure of Admiral Hosier there in a previous conflict. However, his later amphibious operation against Cartagena de Indias suffered a severe defeat. Vernon also served as a Member of Parliament (MP) on three occasions and was out-spoken on naval matters in Parliament, making him a controversial figure. On 21 November 1739 Vernon captured the Spanish colonial possession of Porto Bello (now in Panama) using just six ships (against the 90-man Spanish garrison). Vernon was subsequently granted the Freedom of the City of London and commemorative medals were produced. The Portobello areas in London, Dublin and Edinburgh (see Portobello Road and Portobello, Dublin) are named after this victory, and "Rule, Britannia!" was composed by Thomas Arne during the celebrations in 1740. In April 1741, with a much larger fleet and land forces under Major General Thomas Wentworth, 26,600 men and 186 ships. His enduring claim to fame was his 1740 order that his sailors' rum should be diluted with water. In 1740, supposedly calling the new drink "grog" after Vernon's nickname "Old Grog", attributed to his habitual wearing of a grogram coat.


Recased, corners bumped, some gouges to leather, period book plate to front paste-down else a very good copy.

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