Authorised form of nameWebber; William (- 1796); East India Company official
Dates - 1796
Date of death30/13 November 1796
OccupationSeamen; merchant?; colonial official - East India Company?
Honorable East Indian Company Navy captain and likely merchant; commanded the EIC ship 'Oxford' (1759); possibly Senior Merchant, East India Company (1782); possibly Secretary to the Revenue Department, India (resigned 1786)
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election05/06/1766
RelationshipsSon of Charles Webber of Exeter;
Married (1716) Sarah Smith daughter of Captain Smith RN, Governor of Greenwich Hospital; one son (also William) and two daughters Sarah and Mary Elizabeth
General contextInvested in the Dean's Valley Waterworks Estate, Jamaica, which exploited enslaved people for labour, he was piad an annuity from the estate.

The Honorable East India Company (HEIC) was an English and later British company formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region. The company ended up seizing control of large parts of the Indian subcontinent (and briefly Afghanistan) and colonised parts of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. Originally chartered as the Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East-Indies, by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600, the East India Company rose to account for half of the world's trade, thereby amassing vast wealth, influence and private armies. The East India company enslaved people and exploited them for labour across their territories from 1621 until abolition of slavery in India in 1843. The company ruled large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and seizing administrative functions from local rulers from around 1757 until the British Raj which replaced HEIC control with direct colonial rule of India by the British Government in 1858. Under the HEIC and later colonial governance the British systematically oppressed indigenous people and exploited natural resources of colonised regions for commercial gain. The Company was dissolved in 1874. The Royal Society owned shares in the HEIC from 1682-1699 and many of its Fellows, such as Webber had positions or financial interests in the Company.
Bulloch's Roll; TNA; Burke FR; UCL LBS; EIC List; Ancestry;
'William Webber', Legacies of British Slavery database, [accessed 9th June 2021].
Not the William Webber incorrectly listed as FRS in OW, as OW lists a William Webber who was a priest resident in Sussex from 1748 and died in 1790. According to RS records William Webber FRS was resident at Bloomsbury at time of election and died 1796. TNA has a record of a William Webber's will proved 1796 which seems to confirm this, he had a residence 'Vanburgh House' (sic) identified as being in Blackheath or Vanbrugh Fields. William Webber in OW is also listed as MA, William Webber FRS is not listed as MA in PL. Burke FR gives date of death as 13 Nov 1796. Also not to be confused with William Webber of highland House, DIrector of the East India Company (1762-1765), died 1779. The East India Company list for 1782 also include a William Webber classified as a Senior Merchan in Bengalt. The 'Edinburgh Advertiser '7 Nov 1786 identifies a William Webber having resigned a post in India as Secretary to the Revenue Department in 1786.
Royal Society codeNA3704
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1766/11Webber, William: certificate of election to the Royal Society
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