Rinder, Samuel (1823-1907)

Later known as an able public speaker and writer, an early love of the sea and of adventures led Rinder to embark as a cabin boy from Liverpool to New York at the age of about twelve years. He travelled to Melbourne in the early 1840s, subsequently spending some years in Tasmania.  Hearing of the Californian gold rush in 1849, he found a vessel that took him to Callao, Peru. He never reached California. It was his brief stay in Peru which led him to visit the Chincha Islands. This visit resulted in his writing of one of the most dramatic first-hand accounts of the working conditions of the ‘front-line’ workers for the guano trade in Peru during one of the peak years of the so-called Guano Age (1840-1880). ‘The Guano Diggings’ was published by the journal Household Words in 1852 and contains dramatic, sharp and critical observations of the life of mariners docking at the Chincha Islands and loaders/diggers working in the same area. He became a strong critic of regulations for British merchant seamen and their labour practices, as evident in some of his following articles for the same journal. He later found a ship bound for Liverpool, then returned to Australia three years later, where he spent the rest of his life, eventually becoming an Australian civic dignitary near Melbourne.

Rinder’s baptism certificate of Leeds Parish Church, 6 December 1827, records him as born on 12 November 1823 to Benjamin and Ann Rinder, and his father’s occupation as a butcher, although there is one account of him being the son of a Methodist preacher. Curiously, on the crew list of the Abbots Reading on which he returned to Liverpool in 1849 his age appeared as being 24 (i.e. born in 1825). This has led to variable records of his birth date. His will and grave headstone in Wedderburn Cemetery, Korong Shire, Victoria, Australia, record his age as 84 when he died in 1907 (i.e. born in 1823).

More in preparation

Sources (indicative): Henry Morley and Samuel Rinder, ‘Sailors’ Homes Afloat’, Household Words, 6, 19 February 1853, 529-533; Samuel Rinder, ‘The Guano Diggings’, Household Words, 6, 25 September 1852, 42-46; Samuel Rinder, ‘We, Mariners of England’, Household Words, 6, 26 February 1853, 553-557; ‘The Guano Diggings’ Dickens’ Journals Online [http://www.djo.org.uk/indexes/articles/the-guano-diggings.html , accessed 02 November 2017]; Anne Lohril, ‘Samuel Rinder’, Dickens’ Journals Online [http://www.djo.org.uk/indexes/authors/samuel-rinder.html, accessed 02 November 2017].

Posted by: Lesley Kinsley

How to cite: To cite from this page, please use any style (Chicago, Harvard, etc). Our preferred citation form is: L. Kinsley, ‘Rinder, Samuel (1823-1907)’, The Hispanic-Anglosphere: transnational networks, global communities (late 18th to early 20th centuries), project funded by the AHRC and the University of Winchester in partnership with the National Trust, [https://hispanic-anglosphere.com/individuals/rinder-samuel-1823-1907/, accessed –please add date].

Thematic categories:  Trade and Investment ; Landscape & the Environment; Travel and Tourism