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Wallis, Samuel (1728 - 1795)

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Naval captain
Born: April 1728  Lanteglos by Camelford, Cornwall, England.  Died: 21 January 1795  Portland Place, London, England.
Samuel Wallis was appointed to command HMS Dolphin on the vessel's second Pacific voyage of 1766-8.

Career Highlights
Samuel Wallis was the son of minor gentry with lands near the Cornish village of Lanteglos by Camelford. He joined the navy as a midshipman, serving during the war between England and France of 1744-1749. Shortly after the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, in October 1748, Wallis was promoted lieutenant. He was assigned to the Anson, captained by Charles Holmes in January 1753. In April 1755 he was transferred to the Torbay, then the flagship of Vice-admiral Edward Boscawen.

Between 1756 and 1763, England and France were again at war, in a conflict that saw Spain align with France and Portugal with England. In February 1756, Wallis was assigned to the warship Invincible, before being promoted to captain in June of the same year through Boscawen's patronage and given command of a sloop before being assigned to a twenty gun frigate on the North American station in April 1757. After some eighteen months service in North American waters, Wallis was given command of the Prince of Orange, a sixty gun warship that in 1761 was re-deployed to the Channel fleet.

Wallis was to command the Prince of Orange until the Peace of Paris in 1763.

In 1766, he was recalled to active service to command the Dolphin on its second to the Pacific. Wallis sailed from Plymouth in August in company with the Swallow under the command of Philip Carteret, entering the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan in April 1767. Shortly thereafter the two ships parted, with Wallis sailing northwest so as to pass through the Tuamotou Archipelago to reach Mehetia and Tahiti, naming the latter King George Island in honour of the reigning English monarch. Leaving the Society Islands, Wallis's track took him through the main island groups of the western Pacific before reaching Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands in August 1767.

The Dolphin then sailed to Batavia, where, like the Endeavour, many of the ship's crew died from dysentery. Leaving the Dutch colonial settlement, Wallis arrived back in England by way of the Cape of Good Hope in May 1768, in time to pass on crucial information to the Admiralty and Cook, then preparing to take command of the Endeavour.

Wallis retired on half-pay until being recalled to active service briefly in 1770 as a consequence of the threat of war with Spain over the Falkland Islands. He was again called on to command a vessel briefly in 1780, before being awarded a sinecure as an extra naval commissioner two years later. This post he lost in the aftermath of the administrative reforms championed by Edmund Burke, which saw the abolition of many government sinecures, but regained after the post was re-instituted in 1787. Wallis remained a naval commissioner until he died in London in January 1795.

Related Entries for Wallis, Samuel
Places: Tahiti
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Online Sources Published Sources
  • Hawkesworth, John, An account of the voyages undertaken by the order of His present Majesty, for making discoveries in the southern hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour : drawn up from the journals which were kept by the several commanders and from the papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. Derived from the 1773 London edition, printed for W. Strahan and T. Cadell. National Library of Australian call number: FERG 7243., South Seas, 2004, http://southseas.nla.gov.au/index_voyaging.html. [ Details ]

Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields. Created: 21 April 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000407

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