William Schaw Lindsay
- Bill Lindsay FCIM
- Foreword by Dr J. David Davies
15th July 2023
This book is based on the unpublished journals of William Schaw Lindsay (1815-1877) housed in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
From rags to riches. Born in Scotland and orphaned by the age of 10, Lindsay ran away to sea at the age of 16. The book highlights his life at sea from cabin boy to captain, a sometimes shocking insight into what life was like sailing across oceans in the 1830s. He then became an agent selling coal for steam ships. He would eventually own one of the largest shipping companies in the world, with 22 ships, some of which were employed as troop transporters in the Crimean War. He entered Parliament in 1854 where he focussed on shipping matters. He was vocal in his criticism of the Admiralty during the Crimean War. He visited the Northern states just prior to the American Civil War to discuss shipping laws and met Abraham Lincoln.
In fact, his story includes meetings with an astonishing array of luminaries: Livingstone, Buchanan, Garibaldi, Gladstone, Disraeli, Brunel, Nightingale, Dickens, Paxton, Emperor Napoleon III and Queen Victoria. Lindsay strove to improve the shipping laws, not only in England but abroad, and he persistently advocated the removal of restrictions on free trade. His magnum opus, entitled History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce, became a standard reference on the subject.