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Description

An Unrecorded English Song Sheet Celebrating Admiral Vernon's Taking of Cartagena

Finely engraved song sheet and view of Cartagena, Colombia, celebrating Admiral Edward Vernon's successful siege against the Spanish held stronghold in April 1741.

Based upon information from a letter noted below, it would appear that in 1741 a series of Song sheets printed in either red or blue were issued under the heading The Ladies Amusement or Vocal Harmony. The only reference we have been able to locate for these Songs is in a letter written by William Richard Lewis of Anglesey to the Surgeon Richard Evans on October 28, 1741, where he notes:

I have had a present made of late by a Gentleman coming from London of a set of Songs done on copper plate in red and blue cost 4d a piece. They are call’d the Ladies Amusement or Vocal Harmony most of 'em with tunes for the flute. Mine is from plate I to VI, if they are continued I should be glad to have em……

This piece is docketed on the verso in manuscript: Song upon ye taking Carthagena April 1741 By Edward Vernon Esq vice admiral of ye blue. We also note a cryptic entry in a March 1760 edition of the General Evening Post (London) (see below), which may relate to these sheets.

The Source

The view indicates that it was printed as Plate VIII for The Ladies Amusement of Vocal Harmony.  However, research into this title does reveal that such a publication actually existed.    We note only that the Folger Shakespeare Library holds a single plate, described as Plate XI and titled The monument of W. Shakespeare erected in Westminster Abby [printed below]: A just satyr against ingratitude ... an excellant song sung in the play As you like it ... Blow, blow, thou winters wind ... [etc.].

The first few lines of the song would later be repeated in a tribute to Admiral Rodney:  (Admiral Rodney's triumph, or the French fleet defeated. [London]. [1782.]. 1 sheet; 1/80. British Library C.121.g.9(216). A slip-song. "True Britons all of each degree,". Adams 82-3.1. REFERENCE: ESTCT1605.)

Full Text

  • True Brittons all of each degree,
  • Rejoice around the Nation.
  • Full Bumpers drink and merry be
  • Upon this just occasion
  • Let mirth on e'ery Brow appear,
  • Vernon Victorious is we hear,
  • Since he's took Carthagena
  •  
  • He with his noble Hearts of Gold,
  • With Resolution armed,
  • Scorning by Spain to be Contrould,
  • This gallant Fort they Stormed,
  • He made Don Blas peccavi cry,
  • He sunk and burnt all he came nigh
  • Thousands before his Arms did fly
  • At taking Carthagena
  •  
  • The dastard Cowards could not Stand,
  • (When Vernon jyn'd them Battle,)
  • The force of his Victorious Hand,
  • The Blas did boast and rattle,
  • When he remembred Porto Bell,
  • His Courage quickly from him Fell,
  • Let Fame report, I dare not Tell,
  • That he took Carthagena.
  •  
  •  He burnt six Spanish Men of War,
  • And six Galleons he's taken,
  • Tho'they had Numbers odd by far,
  • This could not save their Bacon,
  • His Fatal Weapons play'd so fast,
  • His Leaden Pills he made them taste,
  • Don Blass was forc'd to yield at last,
  • And give up Carthagena
  •  
  • The Marrine Forces play'd their part, 
  • And like true sons of Thunder,
  • They made the Dons from e'ery part,
  • To truckle and knock  Under
  • They Storm'd their Forts and Castles too
  • Their small Shot just like Hail Stones flew,
  • The Dons could not tell what to do,
  • But ran from Carthagena
  •  
  • Upon the first of April last,
  • This great Exploit he acted,
  • This bitter Pill will make Don Blass,
  • Nay, PHill: and Kate distracted,
  • Brave Vernon's Health in Bumpers full
  • Who made Don Blass an Aprill Fool,
  • And took brave Carthagena.

A rare and possibly unique survival.  We note that the General Evening Post (London)  of Tuesday March 25 to Thursday, March 27, 1760 includes the following advertisement on page 3, column 1:  

To be sold by AUCTION,

(At the Horn-Tavern in Fleet-street on Tuesday next the 1st of April . . . . 

A Parcel of Books bound in Quires with a great Variety of Copper-Plates adapted for English History &c.

* * *

31 Plates, the Ladies Amusement to Vocal Harmony of the most celebrated Anthems and Songs, set to Musick by the best Masters, with beautiful Head-pieces, Quarto . . . .

 

Rarity

The song sheet is extremely rare. We found evidence that the sheet may be in the collection of the Library of Congress.

Reference
The Letters of Lewis, Richard, William, and John Morris: Of ..., Volume 1, page 59 (1907).