The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 9 (December 1, 1938)
Entry Into the Pacific
Entry Into the Pacific.
Samuel Enderby had heard from the captains and mates of East Indiamen that great quantities of sperm whales were to be found east of the Cape of Good Hope. Enderby desired to explore this new fishing ground, but his plans were obstructed by the fact that the directors of the East India Company held a charter which gave them a monopoly of trade in the seas east of the Cape. To have these restrictions removed Enderby worked with vigour, urging the authorities that “permission be given to whalers to explore, without hinderance from the East India Company, the most distant ocean.” His efforts were partially successful, and in a letter to George Chalmers (a Government official) he stated that his firm, at great expense, had purchased and fitted out a very fine ship, the “Emilia,” now ready to sail. They were, he said, the only “adventurers willing to risk their property at such a great distance for the exploring of a fishery”; the others preferring to wait and see how Enderby succeeded.
In 1789 the “Emilia” rounded Cape Horn into the Pacific, not only the first British ship, but the “first among the nations to lower a whale-boat of any sort in the great South Sea.” The venture was a great success, the “Emilia” returning in 1790 with a full cargo of sperm-oil, and the crew in good health. When it became known that whales and seals abounded in the South Pacific, numbers, both of English and American whale ships, followed in the wake of the “Emilia.”