Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855

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Sir (William) Edward Parry: b 1790; entered Royal Navy 1803; Lt 1810; in 1818 he commanded the ALEXANDER, a hired brig under the orders of Captain John Ross in his expedition to the Arctic; in 1819 he was appointed to the HECLA, in command of an expedition to discover the north-west passage; promoted Commander, 1820 and Captain 1821; led a further three expeditions to the Arctic, 1821-1825; Hydrographer to the Admiralty, 1825; led a further expedition to the North Pole, 1827, reaching further north than any previous expedition; knighted 1829; Commissioner, Australian Agricultural Company, 1829-1834; Assistant Poor-Law Commissioner in Norfolk, 1835-1836; controller of steam department of the Navy, 1837-1846; Captain-Superintendent, Haslar Hospital, 1846-1852; Rear Admiral, 1852; Lt Governor of Greenwich Hospital, 1853; died 1855. The Australian Agricultural Company was established by charter in 1824, with a grant of one million acres in New South Wales, and the object of breeding fine-woolled sheep and employing a large number of convicts. The directors of the company appointed Robert Dawson as chief agent, and appointed a local committee to supervise him. Dawson chose Port Stephens, an inlet about 100 miles from Sydney for the Company's grant. In time much of this land was pronounced unsuitable for sheep and Dawson was dismissed. Sir William Edward Parry was appointed Commissioner in 1829, with the task of finding better grazing land, and to arrange for the exchange of at least part of the grant.

From the guide to the PARRY, Rear Admiral Sir William Edward (1790-1855), 1829-1834, (Institute of Commonwealth Studies)

John Murray was a prominent British publisher.

From the description of Letter to John Murray [manuscript]. 1829. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 224750516

From the description of Letter to John Murray, 1829 Mar 26 [manuscript] 1829. (The University of Queensland Library). WorldCat record id: 62547914

(William) Edward Parry was born on 19 December 1790 in Bath, the fourth son of the eminent physician Dr. Caleb Hillier Parry. In 1803, he entered the Royal Navy, serving in the English Channel and the Baltic Sea during the Napoleonic Wars. Promoted lieutenant in 1810, he was assigned to the frigate HMS Alexandria employed in the protection of the Spitsbergen whale fishery. Taking advantage of this opportunity for the study and practice of astronomical observations in northern latitudes, he later prepared a short guide on nautical astronomy, which was published in 1816. In 1813, he was transferred to the North American station, serving during the hostilities between Britain and the United States until 1817.

In 1818, he was given the command of HMS Alexander on the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition (leader John Ross), sent in company with HMS Isabella to search for a Northwest Passage by way of Baffin Bay. Although the expedition failed to find a passage, it confirmed the earlier discoveries of Robert Bylot and William Baffin and encouraged whalers to extend their activities north to Baffin Bay and the coast of Baffin Island.

The following year, Parry led the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1819-1820, sailing in HMS Hecla, accompanied by HMS Griper under Matthew Liddon, to seek a passage through Lancaster Sound in the Canadian Arctic. Setting out from London in May 1819, the expedition reached Davis Strait before proceeding to Lancaster Sound where the two vessels continued westward, exploring Prince Regent Inlet before progressing along Barrow Strait. On 6 September 1819, Parry crossed the meridian of 110° West, off the south shore of Melville Island, earning for the expedition the prize of 5,000 offered by Parliament for reaching this longitude. Prevented from progressing still further west by ice conditions, the expedition wintered at Winter Harbour on Melville Island, where the vessels remained until 1 August 1820. This was the first deliberate Arctic wintering by British naval ships and Parry pioneered techniques for protection against illness and the intense cold. On his return to Britain, he was publicly honoured by several institutions and was promoted to the rank of commander for solving the longstanding problem of locating the elusive entrance to the Northwest Passage, in addition to navigating about halfway through the passage. His narrative of the expedition Journal of a Voyage to discover a Northwest Passage was published in 1821.

Parry was subsequently commissioned to command a second British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1821-1823, setting out in HMS Fury and HMS Hecla to search for a passage along the west coast of the unexplored Foxe Basin. After two attempts to sail through Fury and Hecla Strait were hindered by the ice, Parry was forced to return to England in 1823. Although he had failed to find a passage to the Pacific during the voyage, Parry had charted and explored a considerable area of the Arctic, stretching from Southampton Island north to Baffin Island.

Promoted captain during his absence in November 1821, Parry was appointed acting Hydrographer to the Navy shortly after the return of the expedition. In 1824, he undertook a third expedition, the British Naval Northwest Passage, 1824-1825, returning north in HMS Hecla and HMS Fury to seek a passage by following Prince Regent Inlet to the American mainland coast, then following the coast west. In August 1825, Fury was forced aground at Fury Point, Somerset Island, and Parry reluctantly decided to abandon the expedition, taking both crews aboard Hecla before returning to England. Despite its limited success, the expedition extended the survey of Prince Regent Inlet and conducted valuable geographical and scientific observations. Shortly after his return, Parry was confirmed as Hydrographer to the Navy, holding this post until his resignation in 1829.

Parry made his final voyage to the Arctic in 1827 when he led the British Naval North Polar Expedition, sent by the Admiralty to attempt to reach the North Pole from Svalbard using boats fitted with sledge runners for travel over both water and ice. Setting out from Sorgfjorden in June 1827 with two sledge boats, Enterprise, commanded by Parry, and Endeavour, commanded by James Clark Ross, the two parties reached 82° 45 minutes North in July, establishing a new northern record latitude that was to stand for nearly fifty years. His account of this journey Narrative of the Attempt to reach the North Pole was published in 1827. He was knighted in 1829.

From 1829 until 1834, Parry served as commissioner of the Australian Agricultural Company of New South Wales. After returning to Britain, he was made assistant poor-law commissioner for Norfolk, a post he held until 1836 when he was appointed by the Admiralty to re-organize the Home Packet Service. The following year he accepted the post of comptroller of steam machinery in the newly created steam department of the Admiralty, retaining this post until 1846 when he was appointed captain-superintendent of Haslar Hospital at Gosport. Promoted rear-admiral on his retirement in 1852, he became a lieutenant governor of Greenwich Hospital in 1854, where he remained until deteriorating health forced him to seek treatment at the baths at Ems [Germany], where he died on 8 or 9 July 1855.

Parry married twice, his first wife Isabella Louisa (1801-1839) was the daughter of John Thomas Stanley, 1st Lord Stanley of Alderley, his second wife Catherine was the daughter of Robert Hankinson vicar of Walpole St Andrew.

Published work Journals of the first, second and third voyages for the discovery of a Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in 1819-1820-1821-1822-1823-1824-1825, in His Majesty's Ships Hecla, Griper and Fury volumes 1-6 by William Edward Parry, John Murray, London (1828) SPRI Library Shelf (3)91(091)[pub.1828-29] Narrative of an attempt to reach the North Pole, in boats fitted for the purpose, and attached to His Majesty's ship Hecla, in the year MDCCCXXVII, under the command of Captain William Edward Parry, R.N, F.R.S., and honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg by William Edward Parry, John Murray, London (1828) SPRI Library Shelf Special Collection Folio (32)91(08)[1827 Parry]

From the guide to the Sir William Edward Parry collection, 1800-1855, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Louisa Dorothea Stanley collection, 1839-1874 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn William Parker Snow collection, 1850-1891 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Robert McCormick collection, 1884 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sarah Parry collection, 1803-1818 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Correspondence with Frederick Sydney Parry and other papers, 1826-1958 (inclusive), 1897 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. [The expedition of the Hecla and Fury to find the North West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, 1819-1822. 1819-1822] [microform]. University of Washington Libraries
referencedIn Charles Forsyth collection, 1850-1851 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Pocock, William Innis, 1783-1836. A plan, for fitting certain engines to be worked by steam, to facilitate the operations of ships employed in exploring the Arctic Ocean, particularly when engaged among the ice, April, 1828. New Hampshire Newsp Project
referencedIn Sir John Ross collection, 1812-1856 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter, 1824 June 20 : to Stokes. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Sir Edward Sabine collection, 1819-1858 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn George Ramsay collection, 1826 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Jones, Bassett, collector. Bassett Jones records, 1818-1938. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Sir John Franklin collection, 1801-1845 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Expedition to the Arctic regions in His Majesty's ships the Hecla and Griper commanded by Capt. Parry, [ca. 1821]. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter to [?] Chapman. H.M.S. Helcla. 1827 Jan. 24. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn Robert McClure collection, 1845-1855 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter, 1827 February 2, to Archdeacon Singleton. New Hampshire Newsp Project
referencedIn Charlotte Grimstone collection, 1818 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Peter Sutherland collection, 1847-1854 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir Francis Leopold McClintock collection, 1848-1903 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Correspondence with Frederick Sydney Parry and other papers, 1826-1958 (inclusive), 1897 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Edward Adams collection, 1848-1851 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Griffith, William Nelson. Logbook, 1819-1820. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn George Back collection, 1796-1878 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn N A Cartwright collection, 1850 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Rare autographed letter from Captain Parry to Josh. Martineau, Esq. dated 1832 [microform] ; rare autographed letter from John Franklin dated 1823, 1823, 1832. UAA/APU Consortium Library, Consortium Library
referencedIn William Mogg collection, 1824-1825 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Maria Margaret Stanley collection, 1857 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir Edward Inglefield collection, 1852-1856 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Sir William Edward Parry collection, 1800-1855 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter to Sir John Richardson. [s.l.]. [18--] Jan. 5. University of Iowa Libraries
referencedIn North Georgia Gazette collection, 1819-1820 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter from Sir William Edward Parry, with related material. University of Leeds, Brotherton Library, Leeds University Library
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter : London, to Paul Patten, Saxmundham, England, 1823 Dec. 4. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Fisher, Alexander. Letter, 1821, Jan. 6 : to William Jerdan. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Sarah Matilda Parry collection, 1834 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter to John Murray, 1829 Mar 26 [manuscript] University of Queensland, UQ Library
referencedIn Gertrude Parry collection, 1822 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Lady Maria Josepha Stanley collection, 1839-1854 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir Joseph Nias collection, 1814-1823 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Papers of William Mogg, 1811-c.1870 University of Southampton Libraries Special Collections
creatorOf PARRY, Rear Admiral Sir William Edward (1790-1855), 1829-1834 Institute of Commonwealth Studies
referencedIn Sir John Barrow collection, 1818-1843 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Mary Anne Kay collection, 1826-1848 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Caleb Hillier Parry Collection, 1800-1822 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Expedition to the Arctic regions in His Majesty's ships the Hecla and Griper commanded by Capt. Parry, [ca. 1821]. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Nansen, Fridtjof, 1861-1930. Correspondence with Frederick Sydney Parry and other papers, 1823-1958 (inclusive), 1897 (bulk). Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Isabella Louisa Parry collection, 1813-1839 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Charles Henry Parry collection, 1857 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Locker, Edward Hawke, 1777-1849. Papers of Edward Hawke Locker, 1804-1896. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Parry, William Edward, Sir, 1790-1855. Letter : London, to Paul Patten, Saxmundham, England, 1823 Dec. 4. Texas Christian University
creatorOf Parry, William Edward Sir, 1790-1855. Letter to John Murray [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Edward Stanley collection, 1826 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn John Thomas Stanley collection, 1839 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Edward Parry collection, 1830-1859 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Lyon, G. F. (George Francis), 1795-1832. Sketches of the second Parry Arctic expedition, 1821-1822. Yale University, Yale Center for British Art
referencedIn Letter, after 1831. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Mathew Liddon collection, 1821-1869 Scott Polar Research Institute
creatorOf Snow, William Parker, 1817-1895. Correspondence. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Charles Duncan collection, 1850 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Sir William Edward Parry collection, 1800-1855 Scott Polar Research Institute
referencedIn Autograph File, P, 1554-2005. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Charles Palmer collection, 1823 Scott Polar Research Institute
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Edward person
associatedWith Alexander (Warship) 1818 corporateBody
associatedWith Australian Agricultural Company corporateBody
associatedWith Australian Agricultural Company New South Wales Australia corporateBody
associatedWith Banoc, John. person
associatedWith Barrow John 1808-1898 person
associatedWith Beaufort Francis 1774-1857 person
associatedWith British Naval North Polar Expedition Svalbard/Arctic Ocean 1827 corporateBody
associatedWith British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition Arctic Archipelago (Canada) 1819-1820 corporateBody
associatedWith British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition Arctic Archipelago Canada 1834-1825 corporateBody
associatedWith British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition Foxe Basin/Melville Peninsular Canada 1821-1823 corporateBody
associatedWith British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition Greenland/Baffin Bay 1818 corporateBody
associatedWith Charles Codrington Forsyth person
associatedWith Charles Henry Parry person
associatedWith Charles W Duncan person
associatedWith Croker, Thomas Crofton, 1798-1854. person
associatedWith Crozier Francis Rawdon Moira c 1796-1848 person
associatedWith Davison, William. person
associatedWith Fisher, Alexander. person
associatedWith Foster Henry 1796-1831 person
associatedWith Fury (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Fury (Warship) corporateBody
associatedWith George Back and others person
associatedWith Gertrude Gatty Parry person
associatedWith Great Britain. Royal Navy corporateBody
associatedWith Griffith, William Nelson. person
associatedWith Grimstone Charlotte person
associatedWith Grimstone, Charlotte person
associatedWith Griper (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Hecla (Ship) corporateBody
associatedWith Hecla (Warship) corporateBody
associatedWith Isabella Louisa Parry person
associatedWith Isabella (Warship) 1818 corporateBody
associatedWith John Thomas Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley of Alderley person
associatedWith Jones, Bassett, collector. person
associatedWith Liddon Mathew d 1869 person
associatedWith Locker, Edward Hawke, 1777-1849. person
associatedWith Louisa Dorothea Stanley person
associatedWith Lyon, G. F. (George Francis), 1795-1832. person
associatedWith Maria Margaret Stanley person
associatedWith Mary Anne Kay person
associatedWith Mathew Liddon and others person
associatedWith McCormick, Robert person
associatedWith Mogg, William person
associatedWith Mogg William 1796-1875 person
associatedWith Murray, John, 1778-1843. person
associatedWith Nansen, Fridtjof, 1861-1930. person
associatedWith Nias Joseph 1793-1879 person
associatedWith North Georgia Gazette and Winter Chronicle corporateBody
associatedWith Palmer, Charles person
associatedWith Parry, Ann, fl 1960-1995 person
associatedWith Parry Caleb Hillier 1755-1822 person
associatedWith Parry, Edward person
associatedWith Parry Isabella Louisa 1801-1839 person
associatedWith Patten, Paul, 19th cent. person
associatedWith Peter Cormack Sutherland person
associatedWith Pocock, William Innis, 1783-1836. person
associatedWith Ramsay, George person
associatedWith Richardson, John, Sir, 1787-1865, person
associatedWith Robert John Le Mesurier McClure person
associatedWith Ross, James Clark, Sir, 1800-1862. person
associatedWith Ross John 1777-1856 person
associatedWith Sabine Edward 1788-1883 person
associatedWith Sarah Matilda Parry and William Edward Parry person
associatedWith Sarah Parry (nee Rigby) person
associatedWith Singleton, Thomas, 1783-1842. person
associatedWith Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield person
associatedWith Sir Edward Sabine person
associatedWith Sir Francis Leopold McClintock person
associatedWith Sir John Barrow person
associatedWith Sir John Franklin person
associatedWith Sir John Ross and others person
associatedWith Sir Joseph Nias person
associatedWith Sir William Edward Parry person
associatedWith Snow, William Parker, 1817-1895. person
associatedWith Stanley, Edward person
associatedWith Stanley Maria Josepha 1771-1863 wife of 1st Baron Stanley of Alderley person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Northwest Passage
Arctic regions Discovery and exploration
Polar regions
Australia
Polar regions
Sydney
Northwest Passage
Arctic regions
Northwest Passage
Arctic regions
Arctic regions
Asia and the Pacific
Lancaster Sound (Nunavut)
Arctic regions
Northwest Passage
Subject
Letters--19th century
Portraits, British 19th century
Agricultural products
Northwest Passage
Occupation
Explorers
Function

Person

Birth 1790-12-19

Death 1855-07-09

Britons

English

Information

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