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Edward Vernon

Vernon, Edward, 1684–1757, British admiral. He entered the navy in 1700 and rose steadily in rank. A member of Parliament from 1722, he opposed the government of Sir Robert Walpole and urged war with Spain. When war was finally declared (see Jenkins's Ear, War of), Vernon won great popularity by his capture (1739) of Portobelo. However, the failure of his joint expedition (1741) with the incompetent General Wentworth against Cartagena and Santiago de Cuba led to his recall. Vernon's nickname, "Grog," was given to the drink—rum diluted with water—that he ordered served to his sailors to curb their drunkenness. George Washington's half-brother Lawrence named the Washington estate, Mt. Vernon, for the admiral, under whom he had served.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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