Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne 1811 – 1887

Admiral Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne 1811 – 1887, RN, CNB, Commander of HMS Hermes in 1851, was a Patron of the London Homeopathic Hospital, and of the homeopathic hospital in Smyrna, Fishbourne was a Steward at the 1858 Annual Festival in aid of the London Homeopathic Hospital.

Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne was a close friend of William Francis Cowper Temple and Georgiana Tollemache Mount Temple (James Gregory, Reformers, Patrons and Philanthropists, (Taurus Academic Studies, 2010). Page 218), who were close friends of  James John Garth Wilkinson.

The supporters of homeopathy are now striving to establish a large metropolitan hospital, which shall be conducted according to the principles inculcated by Samuel Hahnemann, which will be a school for homeopathic students, and which will afford to allopathic physicians the means of inquiring into the merits of the new doctrine and practice.

A public dinner in aid of the building fund of this charity took place on Wednesday, April 21 at Willis’s Rooms, when the Duke of Beaufort, George Ponsonby O’Callaghan 2nd Viscount Lismore, Arthur de Vere Capell Viscount Malden, Henry Robinson Montagu 6th Baron Rokeby, Lord Grey de Wilton, Lord Cosmo Russell, Robert Grosvenor, Mr Truman MP, Major Blake, Captain Fishbourne RN, Mr Pritchard [High Bailiff of Southwark], Mr Sheriff Rutherford, Frederick Hervey Foster Quin, John Rutherford Russell, and about 150 other gentlemen, known as supporters and practitioners of homeopathy in the metropolis and in the provinces.

The usual toasts were given, viz– “The Queen;” “The Prince Consort and the Royal Family;” and “The Army and Navy,” responded to by Henry Robinson Montagu 6th Baron Rokeby and Captain Fishbourne RN, who alluded to their experience of the benefits personally derived by them from homeopathy during their service in the Niger expedition and in the Crimea. The Chairman then proposed “Success to the London Homeopathic Hospital,” which was enthusiastically received.

The homeopathic hospital in Smyrna, was also supported by: Arthur Algernon Capell 6th Earl of Essex, Lord Lovaine MP (Algernon George Percy 6th Duke of Northumberland), James Gambier 1st Baron Gambier, George Wyndham 1st Baron Leconfield, Colonel Taylor, Captain Fishbourne, Robert Grosvenor 1st Baron Ebury, Richard Whately Archbishop of Dublin, Henry Charles FitzRoy Somerset 8th Duke of Beaufort, Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington, James Hamilton 1st Duke of Abercorn, and 18 other members of the House of Lords, 43 Peer’s sons, Baronets and Members of Parliament, 17 Generals, 33 Field Officers, 43 other Officers of the Army, 2 Admirals, 15 Captains of the navy, 65 Clergymen, 45 Justices of the Peace, Barristers and Solicitors, and 314 Bankers, Merchants and others.

Fishbourne entered the Royal Navy in 1824, becomming a Lieutenant in 1835, a Commander in 1841, a Captain in 1853, he retired as an Admiral in 1879. Between 1835 and 1850, he saw active duty across Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, and the East Indies,

In 1847, Fishbourne was reported in a debate in Hansard,

In 1852-3, Fishbourne was the Second in Command under Commodore Lambert in the 2nd Anglo Burmese war,

In 1854, the newly promoted ‘Captain’ Fishbourne and the HMS Hermes were paid off in Woolwich after steaming 75,000 miles.

In 1857, Fishbourne was involved with an attempt to lay the North Atlantic Cable,

In 1858, Captain Fishbourne gave a lecture On Floating Batteries (reported in the United Services Institute Journal Vol II, 1858), and he was a prodigeous author of articles on shipping techniques, on various military campaigns, he also wrote What is Sin?, The Injustice of Free Trade Policy, Entire Sanctification; or, a clean heart is the doctrine of Scripture, The Irish Plundered, Manufacturers enriched, and Foreigners protected, Means employed to raise the Condition of British Seamen, Protection for her people and her industries the cure for Irish discontent, Romans vii. 14-25 represents unconverted experience!, Wholeness, or holiness and health through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,

4 thoughts on “Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne 1811 – 1887”

  1. I have a letter of 1856 written by a rather irate Captain Edmund Gardiner Fishbourne to my ancestor Captain William McClintock Bunbury, RN. Fishbourne felt the Admiralty had ‘cast a slur on me’ when he learned from the Duke of Newcastle they rejected his application for a CB (for his services in the Burmese War) ‘in favour of [Hardwicke] a man several years my junior’. He felt the Admiralty were unjust in ‘reprimanding me and in not making reparations when they found they were wrong’. He hoped the Captain would mention it to Admiral Beechey (formerly of HMS Samarang) ‘not as a matter of friendship or favour but as of basic justice’. The Captain then got a memorandum about Fishbourne showing he had been the senior officer at ‘the commencement of the Kaffir War’ (then a Commodore?), how he received the thanks of the Queen ‘though he did not show / share the responsibility, he having returned from the Mozambique only a few days before the date of Sir Harry Smith’s despatch of 18 February 1851 reporting the service alluded to’. He was the only field officer not rewarded for his services in the Kaffir War. He was also the senior officer at Rangoon where his services had been recognised by the Governor General and military top brass, but was overlooked in favour of Commander Tarleton and Shadwell. When Shanghai was captured, he landed three ships to defend the British settlement. On three occasiosn he destroyed and captured piratical junks amounting number sot 40. Sir John Parkington when Colonial Secretary officially wrote to Sir Harry Smith saying that Smith’s choice of officers, Fishbourne included, should be recognised but when Parkington left that office, Captain Fishbourne’s name was omitted. He spent many years beating up pirates and being beaten up in Rangoon on the Empire’s behalf so felt understandably sore at being ignored in favour of some cub whose probably never even left Portsmouth. He later thanks Captain Bunbury for his part in restoring his credibility in 1859 (although written on black-rimmed mourning paper from the United Service Club).

  2. Hi Turtle Bunbury

    Thanks so much for your post – this sort of treatment is standard fare for anyone daring to publicly support homeopathy – nothing much has changed from 1856 to the present time…

    So much for fair play and health freedom… in previous centuries, this sort of treatment was reserved for ‘heretics’ but we eventually got a renaissance and a reformation, though many good people suffered to get such basic freedoms!! Such is our sorry World still…


  3. Dear Sue
    Capt Edmund Fishboourne in 1864 helped to try to found a company to produce experimental iron chains and cladding for iron ships, the inventions of Mme Celeste Sinibaldi of 1, South Street Villas South Street , Greenwich.
    She signed the 1866 women’s suffrage petition with her neighbours, wives of Messers Brockelbank, and Spratt In the Autumn of 1866 the Spiritual Athenaeum was established at 22, Sloane Street, Knightsbridge largely to act as a base for the popular American medium Daniel Dunglas Home. Seances had become very popular among the middle class since the 1850’s and clearly Blackheath and Greenwich were no exception. Five out of the thirteen Council members who set up the Atheneum were related to women who signed the petition. One, Dr Gully, ran a health spa in Malvern – his sister signed. Of the rest George Brockelbank, was a a shipowner whose second wife and eldest daughter signed. Selina Spratt wife of architect Henry Spratt in South Villas was joined by the wife of the prolific author of popular science books the Rev J G Wood in Belvedere, who also signed – presumably she met the others by this means. . Captain Drayson of the Royal Artillery was a particularly enthusiastic devotee of Spiritualism, ( he also had friends in common with Capt Fisboourne) and three of his sisters also signed. Captain Drayson had also very much admired the only identified Spiritualist Medium who signed the petition, Annie Ackworth. Her husband Edward Acworth was also a doctor, and connected to Dr Gully. I believe that both Dr Acworth and Dr Gully were homeopaths, and I think that some more women who signed were also related to homeopaths.
    I have found your site most helpful,, and when I re-find the other homeopaths, I can let you know if you like. (1,499 women signed the petition so sometimes I can find it hard to re-find them!)
    Good wishes Ann Dingsdale,

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