WAR OF JENKINS' EAR. The Protests for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty-nine. London: Printed for W. Tewley, in Fleetstreet, [1739].

$ 300.00

WAR OF JENKINS' EAR. The Protests for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred Thirty-nine. To which is added, a LIST of the Peers who Voted against an Address to approve the Convention, March the 1st, 1738-9. Also of Those who Voted for the Enquiry, yet Voted for the Address. Likewise, the Names of those Peers who spoke for the Address, and of those who spoke against it, with the Numbers on each Side, both Present and Proxies. To which is Annexed, A List of those Peers who used to Vote with the court, but Voted against it on this Question. Also, A True State of the National-Debt, provided or unprovided for by Parliament, as it stood December 31st, 1737, and December 31st, 1738. Together with an Account of the Produce of the sinking-Fund in that Year, and to the Payment of what Debts contracted before the 25th of December, 1716, the said Fund has been applied. Presented march 21st, 1738-9, according to their Lordships Address to His Majesty, march 19th, 1738-9. London: Printed for W. Tewley, in Fleetstreet, [1739].

Folio (14 x 8 4/8 inches). 8-pages, disbound (folded, one or two stains).

Referring to the Convention of Pardo concluded between Great Britain and Spain in January of 1739 which was intended to bring an end to the growing hostilities between the British and Spanish over international trading rights, and the subsequent petition presented to Parliament listing British merchants' grievances against the Spanish. The following year George II declared war against the Spanish, a conflict now known as the War of Jenkins' Ear: Robert Jenkins (d. 1743), was a merchant naval officer, and master of the brig Rebecca in 1731. Bound for Jamaica the vessel was was boarded "on 9 April by a Spanish coastguard off Havana. Jenkins was half-strangled and beaten by the Spanish, who wished to get him to reveal suspected hidden contraband. After failing to discover anything, the Spanish commander cut off part of Jenkins's ear, ‘bidding him to carry it to his Master King George’. The Rebecca was plundered and, as Rear-Admiral Stewart informed the Spanish governor of Havana on 12 September 1731, left ‘with the intent that she should perish in her passage’. Despite its poor condition the ship arrived in the Thames on 11 June and Jenkins's case was reported in the press along with other allegations of Spanish intimidation at a time of worsening relations between Britain and Spain over navigation rights and suspected smuggling. Rear-Admiral Stewart specifically mentioned the case to the Spanish governor as part of a series of complaints for which he demanded satisfaction. However, it was not until 1738 that the impact of the Jenkins episode was fully felt in the wake of new criticisms of Spain. On 17 March the House of Commons resolved to examine a petition of several merchants trading to America complaining of Spanish depredations [as here]. Jenkins was ordered to attend the committee on 22 March. In the event he did not attend, but his plight was a powerful motif for the pro-war opposition to Robert Walpole's ministry. Cultural events relating to the Jenkins incident included a masquerade performed in February 1739 which featured a Spaniard, very richly dressed, who called himself knight of the Ear; as a Badge of which order he wore on his Breast the form of a Star, whose Points seem'd ting'd with Blood, on which was painted an Ear, and round it, written in Capital letters the word Jenkins.

"The Anglo-Spanish war which finally broke out in 1739 owed very little to the Rebecca incident though Jenkins's ear continued to serve as a potent symbol of political rights and Spanish cruelty. The identity of the Spanish commander who had perpetrated the crime was eagerly sought in order that his capture would prove an equally symbolic revenge. At least two Spanish captains were suspected of being Jenkins's tormentor, and their capture in 1740 and 1742 was heralded as fitting justice" (J. K. Laughton, rev. Richard Harding for DNB). ESTC T171269. Catalogued by Kate Hunter