A Blupete Biography Page

Whaling, Part 6 to the Life & Works of
Samuel Cunard

In 1817, A. Cunard & Son outfitted a brig, Rachel, and sent her north on a voyage to the Strait of Belle Isle. She was after whales but the catch was not so good, in any event, she was caught in a storm and wrecked off the coast of Newfoundland. Determined, as he was throughout his life, Cunard went at it again, the very next year. He sent out, with a government subsidy, the brig, Prince of Waterloo. This second vessel went south to the more traditional whaling grounds; she returned after a year and a half with barely enough barrels of oil to cover the cost of the voyage. Not ready to put his dream aside, Cunard sent the Prince of Waterloo out once again, c. 1820, this time north, back to the Strait of Belle Isle; the Prince of Waterloo did no better than she did in her previous trip.

Cunard let the years go by, but he still was of the view that he could successfully prosecute the whale fishery. In 1837, the Halifax Whaling Co. was incorporated by statute. While other mercantile firms participated, the principal shareholders were the Cunard brothers. The project was supported by the government which offered a bounty on certain terms. Though I am not aware of the exact times, the first whaling-vessel under sail sent out by the new company was the Pacific. She went into the southern Pacific and came back home with a full cargo. Since the Pacific was the first to return, of a number of whaling ships that the government had encouraged, she received a bounty. Even before the company's ship, the Pacific, came back to Halifax, Cunard, using his own resources, sent out another Whaler, the Susan and Sarah. I have nothing that would enlighten us as to what happened to the Susan and Sarah. We might suppose that her trip was marginally successful, as two more whaling-vessels were send out: the Rose and the Samuel Cunard.22 The Rose, in time, came back with a full cargo and sent out again. As for the Samuel Cunard: the crew deserted her some where in New Zealand "and her captain, in a fit of drunken despondency, had jumped overboard and drowned."

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Peter Landry
2011

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