Edward Swinney, an Irishman serving on the British Navy frigate HMS Gorgon, jumped ship with his friend James Rawlings, a boatswains mate on the Gorgon, in Portsmouth, England on 15 September 1790.
A year after Swinney and Rawlings left her, the Gorgon was a part of the Third Fleet that relieved the starving British penal colony in Australia. On the voyage back from Australia, that same Gorgon picked up the captured portion of the mutinous crew of the HMS Bounty and brought them back to England. Later still, the Gorgon would participate in the Battle of New Orleans.
But Swinney and Rawlings left her before all that happened — for the lure of the whaling ship Kent, docked nearby. Kent was owned by Samuel Enderby & Sons, a famous and wealthy whaling firm based in Greenwich, England.
In chapter 100 of Moby Dick, “Leg and Arm,” the Pequod has a gam off the coast of Patagonia with a whaling ship named the Samuel Enderby. Her captain had lost his arm to the White Whale and he and Ahab have a friendly enough conversation about the whale that has taken a limb from each of them. The master of the Samuel Enderby has no interest in pursuing Moby Dick, though, and thinks that Ahab is mad for wanting to do so.
The Enderbys were
American royalists roundheads; the story goes that they supplied the ships that were boarded in the Boston Tea Party. They had moved to England after the American revolution, hunting whales in the south Atlantic until there were so few left that it drove them to other grounds. Sailing next from Enderby wharf in Greenwich, their ships — including Swinney’s Kent, under the command of captain Paul Pease — hunted whales and seals all over the world. Exploiting newly-discovered lands literally at the ends of the earth, whaling ships like the Kent opened new hunting grounds in the southern oceans, including sub-Antarctic fisheries around New Zealand. In Swinney’s time, the Enderbys had at least 68 whaling ships in their fleet.
In the next chapter of Moby Dick, “The Decanter”, Melville provides a historically accurate portrait:
Ere the English ship fades from sight, be it set down here, that she hailed from London, and was named after the late Samuel Enderby, merchant of that city, the original of the famous whaling house of enderby and sons; a house which in my poor whaleman’s opinion, comes not far behind the united royal houses of the Tudors and Bourbons, in point of real historical interest. How long, prior to the year of our Lord 1775, this great whaling house was in existence, my numerous fish-documents do not make plain; but in that year (1775) it fitted out the first English ships that ever regularly hunted the Sperm Whale; though for some score of years previous (ever since 1726) our valiant Coffins and Maceys of Nantucket and the Vineyard had in large fleets pursued that Leviathan, but only in the North and South Atlantic: not elsewhere. Be it distinctly recorded here, that the Nantucketers were the first among mankind to harpoon with civilized steel the great Sperm Whale; and that for half a century they were the only people of the whole globe who so harpooned him.
In 1778, a fine ship, the Amelia, fitted out for the express purpose, and at the sole charge of the vigorous Enderbys, boldly rounded Cape Horn, and was the first among the nations to lower a whale- boat of any sort in the great South Sea. The voyage was a skilful and lucky one; and returning to her berth with her hold full of the precious sperm, the Amelia’s example was soon followed by other ships, English and American, and thus the vast Sperm Whale grounds of the Pacific were thrown open. But not content with this good deed, the indefatigable house again bestirred itself: Samuel and all his Sons – how many, their mother only knows – and under their immediate auspices, and partly, I think, at their expense, the British government was induced to send the sloop-of-war Rattler on a whaling voyage of discovery into the South Sea. Commanded by a naval Post-Captain, the Rattler made a rattling voyage of it, and did some service; how much does not appear. But this is not all. In 1819, the same house fitted out a discovery whale ship of their own, to go on a tasting cruise to the remote waters of Japan. That ship – well called the “Syren” – made a noble experimental cruise; and it was thus that the great Japanese Whaling Ground first became generally known. The Syren in this famous voyage was commanded by a Captain Coffin, a Nantucketer.
In support of their fleet, the Enderbys established a rope factory at their Greenwich wharf. This ropeworks eventually became a cable-making factory that supplied the first trans-Atlantic underwater cable, which was laid from the wharf itself.
The Enderby family, in the mid-nineteenth century, tried to create a colony far off the coast of New Zealand on an island called Enderby Island (near Norfolk Island). This last effort was a failure and ultimately bankrupted the company. Enderby Island is still there, but still uninhabited.
Alright, so that’s the picture; our Irishman, Swinney, escapes John Bull’s navy for a whaling ship with famous owners.
I am in possession of an original etching of the Samuel Enderby William Lisle Commander
The Enderby’s were not Royalists, they supported Cromwell in the civil war getting lands at Waterford Ireland. money from theses lands when sold in 1660 possibly gave money to become shippers and merchants joining the Muscovy company, their place of business was Paules Wharfe now Pauls Walk on the northern bank of the Thames below the pedestrian suspension bridge. In 1803 the Greenwich wharfe was acquired with the assistance of the Morden College and renovated by Admiral Vansittart[before becoming Admiral]Samuel Enderby II[if you do not use numbers the wrong person is given credit where it should not be. The First Samuel was Sam II’s grandfather; his Father was Daniel II who married Mary Cook! Samuel Enderby II at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Buxton in June 1752 lived in Fish Street whilst Arthur Phillip lived in Bread street a very short distance away near Salters Hall which was the guild Hall for industry’s using Salt
the Enderby’s being tanners at Bermondsey amongst other things would be entitled to go to Salters Hall. Mrs. James Cooks family of Smiths were in buisines of leather in Bermondsey at the same time. Samuel Enderby II willed money to Salters Hall. The Enderby’s never lived in America, ever since invading from Denmark area the Enderby’s lived in the midlands-Leicestershire- Boston Lincs- Spalding -Norfolk areas before coming to London around 1550;
Family correspondence says the Enderby’s owned two of the three ships at the Tea Party, the third was owned by their Boston, America Agent Francis Rotch; this is why only Francis is consulted by the “Rebels’; historians do not seem to question why only Francis is consulted about three ships. Sam II’s daughter Mary is aboard Captain Coffins ship with her new American Husband Nathaniel Wheatley at the Quarantine station for a non existent Smallpox case that disappears the day after the other two ships form the first act of the Tea Party; the third ship is bought to the same wharfe the day after and he cargo discharged in the same manner. It is in Hansard of the British Parliament that 120 of the 150 ships at Nantucket were of English ownership, all but one was destroyed in the civil war. There is a lot more some of it is in my book Caroline Princess of Wales and other Forgotten People available through Amazon.
May I caution all to the information in this item. Both posters have so much wrong that it would not help anyone to believe them. The words of Mr Dawson are the worst examples:
The First Samuel was”” Sam II’s”” grandfather; NOPE he was Samuel III not II
his Father was Daniel II who married Mary Cook! NOPE she was COCK and nothing whatsoever to do with James Cook
the Enderby’s being tanners at Bermondsey amongst other things would be entitled to go to Salters Hall. NOPE It was where they later worshipped.
The Enderby’s never lived in America YES but
ever since invading from Denmark area the Enderby’s lived in the midlands-Leicestershire- Boston Lincs- Spalding -Norfolk areas before coming to London around 1550; NOPE Mr Dawson belongs to that family not to the Enderbys in whaling. There is no connection and this can be proved.
Sam II’s daughter Mary is aboard Captain Coffins ship with her new American Husband Nathaniel Wheatley at the Quarantine station NOPE NOPE NOPE Their marriage was in November. The brig left over a month before they married.
It is in Hansard of the British Parliament that 120 of the 150 ships at Nantucket were of English ownership, all but one was destroyed in the civil war …The what war? In any case this requires proof, what is the reference.
It is to be hoped the complete definitive and clear family history of the Enderbys of London will be published before a year is out – by me. it is to come ahead of my major work on the period just BECAUSE of the rolling innacuracies and worse that appear all over.
Mr Dawson is aware of the above as I have had correspondence with him.
I did think of a critique for the Princess Caroline book but it is not worthy of my time and does not stand up to even cursory examination. Not a reference is given in it anywhere so caveat emptor.
Mr. Payton, I am most interested in learning of your research regarding the Enderby family, from the London area and any knowledge of the midlands family(s). Is your alluded to work published ?
Same request from me: that I would be very interested to hear about any research into the Enderby family. My own research has been on the (at the time, much lauded) captain and shareholder of the “Samuel Enderby”, William Lisle (1792-1870). Twenty years ago he was still being spoken of in his birthplace, far away from London, and using as a starting point a letter kept by his family, I have tried to flesh out his story… his fame as well as the personal loss it took… but there remain, of course, gaps.
I am still very interested in reading the alluded to book by Mr. Payton. Is there any progress?
And just to add to the list of errors – no, it was not Enderby ships that held the tea at Boston. Those ships belonged to the Roche family of New England.
I’m a decendent of William lisle and I’m finding it fascinating allthe information you have . Any information is greatly received .