Samwell, David (DNB00)


SAMWELL, DAVID (d. 1799), surgeon, was the son of William Samuel, vicar of Nantglyn, and therefore grandson of Edward Samuel [q. v.] of Llangar. He sailed with Captain Cook on his third voyage of discovery as surgeon's first mate on the Resolution. On the death of William Anderson he succeeded John Law as surgeon of the Discovery. In this capacity he was an eye-witness of Cook's death, of which he wrote an account for ‘Biographica Britannica;’ this was published separately in 1786 as ‘A Narrative of the Death of Captain James Cook.’ In later life Samwell was a prominent member of the Welsh literary circle of London; he was secretary of the Gwyneddigion Society in 1788, and vice-president in 1797. His assistance is acknowledged in the preface to Pughe's edition (1789) of the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym [see David], and in October 1796 he contributed to the first volume of the ‘Cambrian Register’ a biographical and critical notice of Huw Morris or Morus [q. v.] (pp. 426–39). Some of his poems are preserved in Brit. Mus. MSS. Addit. 14957 and 15056. He died in the autumn of 1799, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Andrew's, Holborn. An elegy on him, by Thomas Edwards (‘Twm o'r Nant’), was printed in ‘Diliau Barddas’ (1827).

[Leathart's History of the Gwyneddigion, 1831; Eos Ceiriog, 1823, introd. p. xv; elegy in Diliau Barddas; Byegones for 8 Jan. 1890; Cook's Voyages.]

J. E. L.