This page updated 17 April 2017
News in July 2006: The history websites on this domain now have a companion website, and an updating website as well, on a new domain, at Merchant Networks Project, produced by Dan Byrnes and Ken Cozens (of London).
Merchant Networks Project (it is hoped) will become a major exercise in economic and maritime history, with much attention to London/British Empire and some attention to Sydney, Australia.
Check now: an article on THE FIRST CAMPBELLS ON JAMAICA, with genealogies given, plus historical insight, at: jamaica.htm
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During the writing of The
Connection, certain errors and/or oversights in history-writing
seemed significant. Many such errors/oversights had to do with
shipping information, and questions arose as to whether this was
meaningful. Here is an overview of how and why this has seemed important.
(Relevant citations are given below in this file.)
Have you ever wondered why the Australian movie industry is still too immature to consider work on a movie on the First Fleet? I have thought about too, and find it all rather inexplicable. All I can do here is say, keep thinking about it.
In the Australian Dictionary of Biography, online entry for Gov. William Bligh (accessed 12 October 2006, entry on Bligh by Prof. A. G. L. Shaw) it is stated incorrectly on Bligh that Bligh's “uncle-in-law”, overseer of the Thames Prison Hulks, Duncan Campbell (1726-1803), had owned the ship which became HMAV Bounty. This is incorrect. For that first breadfruit voyage, Campbell had unsuccessfully tendered his own ship usually sent to Jamaica, Lynx, which Bligh had once sailed, which was an ex-naval vessel.
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THE FIRST Ph.D thesis written on convict transportation to Australia was by Wilfrid Oldham, who was granted his doctorate in 1933. Oldham, an Australian, was also the first Australian scholar to try to indicate, and quite properly so, just how the British system of convict transportation was "switched" from North America to an initially-unknown Australian destination.
This was a worthy, and an ideal aim. Oldham, who was not published however till 1990, missed a few key pieces of information concerning ship ownerships between 1785 and 1795. (See Oldham, p. 125) Interestingly, but ironically, Oldham was followed up Eris O'Brien, who wrote, firstly as a PhD thesis of 1937 or earlier, his treatment of "penal colonisation". I surmise, but do not know as a fact, that because Oldham had treated the North American experience, presumably well, O'Brien avoided discussion of the American timeframes, and treated the Australian experience as a matter of penal colonisation. This would seem to be why O'Brien gave more detail on convict shipping than Oldham had. I was intrigued here, culturally, since O'Brien, an Irishman, also had a more suspicious attitude to the legislation on convict transportation. So, suspicions about one sector here washed over to create suspicion about the other. (In Australian popular history-writing, a certain, unhappy sense of suspicion about the employment of convict shipping is a strongly-entrenched attitude, perhaps indelible).
Yet, O'Brien missed some of the same information that Oldham had missed.
And it happened that few if any writers made any advance on precision in shipping information, until Charles Bateson in 1959 published his first edition of The Convict Ships (which book became my own point of departure). But ironically, and today, inexplicably, Bateson also got alderman Macaulay wrong, as Oldham had done 26 years before, and this went unnoticed by most historians.
Bateson's book of course, as well as the earlier mentioned theses, should be read in conjunction with Historical Records of New South Wales (HRNSW) and Historical Records of Australia (HRA). Both these official presentations of relevant correspondence contain some information on shipping which had been overlooked, but otherwise they contain much that was encouraging for any historical detective.
Which information was missing? One thing missing was any success in attempts by historians to explain why, in the first instance, any London-based ship manager would want to send a ship to the edge of the known world, with or without convicts? It can also be noted as a trope, that Australian researchers and readers never seem to have it cross their mind to ask: if early Australia had three convict fleets arrive, why was there no fourth fleet arriving? Why, after the Third Fleet, did Britain change its mechanisms for transporting convicts? Because the facts indicate that once decisions were made in London to not send a fourth fleet, certain names persisted in the business of convict transportation, including alderman Macaulay, a matter seemingly not noticed, asked about or commented by most Australian researchers working with any kind of history. (For those who wish to know more, after the Third Fleet had arrived at Sydney, Macaulay sent as a convict transport his regular tea ship, Pitt Captain Edward Manning, a ship regarded as arriving Sydney in 1792, she had departed England in mid-1791. It is still not entirely clear why Macaulay bothered to send her!)
Many questions here can be gathered around the figure of London's
Alderman George Macaulay,
died 1803. Why
did he bother? (He is noted in both HRNSW and HRA.) Before visiting London
in 1989 I became aware from obscure library sources in Sydney that Macaulay had written
a journal. Was it possible that any of this journal still existed.
(Luckily, my London researcher in 1989, Gillian Hughes, successfully tracked down Macaulay's remaining journal, held in the British Library, London.)
However, perhaps the best clue on Macaulay was found in Philip's Voyage. This so-called journal by New South Wales' first governor, Arthur Philip, was actually a compilation work produced for semi-official reasons to help publicise government's success in establishing its new convict colony. It has the reputation as the first book ever published about European Australia.
See Arthur Phillip, The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, With an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, including the journals of Lts. Shortland, Watts, Ball and Capt. Marshall. Melbourne, Facsimile edition for Georgian House, 1950. Originally published, 1789.
In Philip's Voyage, who on earth was Lt. Watts, "who had been out with Cook"? Watts was an employee of alderman Macaulay, and his own journal entry mentioned Macaulay in terms of familiarity. Hence, Macaulay was known to people of the First Fleet, and presumably also to Londoners of the 1780s. But he was unknown to historians. Was there any writer's opportunity here? Or any better way of getting around formal research problems? Did Macaulay utter the hitherto unheard voice of civic London here? About getting rid of convicts?
Macaulay's affiliations in life became part of The Blackheath Connection, as did the affiliations of the associates of the London-based South Whale Fishery. Merchant motivations to send a ship past Australia were becoming clearer. But other destinations than Sydney also needed to be discussed.
Just before the Australian Bicentennial, 1988, Robert Hughes published his book, The Fatal Shore, which claimed quite incorrectly that the First Fleet, as fleet, had been put together (contracted for) by a crooked and corrupt man named Duncan Campbell (the overseer of the Thames prison hulks).
Hughes' bicentennial-sized error only deepened my curiosity. How could he or his researcher have made such a mistake? For if we believe Hughes here, some of the family histories associated with the first settlement of my home region (at and near Walcha) become a nonsense. Several archaeologists from the University of New England are contradicted, also.
(See Graham E. Connah, M. Rowland, J. Oppenheimer, Captain Richards' House at Winterbourne: A Study in Historical Archaeology. Armidale, Australia. Dept. Of Prehistory and Archaeology, University Of New England, 1978.) The William Richards noted here was not a descendant of the First Fleet contractor, William Richards.
Where does nonsense begin and end, then?
Ironically, reinforcing Hughes' error, by 1988 had also appeared Michael Talbot's novel on the First Fleet, To The Ends Of The Earth. Which also asserts that the First Fleet was put together by a roughly-humourous, corrupt and profit-taking Duncan Campbell.
A novelist and a historian at about the same time, both making the same error about an event usually regarded as inaugural, might suggest that something could be wrong with the history in question! But what could the "something wrong" be? Is there a cultural problem here?
There are other gaps in history-writing. Interesting here is a recent - and otherwise quite likeable - book about the histories of Blackheath and Greenwich, as London suburbs.
Felix Barker, (with additional material by Denise Silvester-Carr), Greenwich and Blackheath Past. London, Historical Publications, 1993. Revised 1999.
Barker's book, however, revised recently as 1999, contains nothing about men from those two suburbs having anything to do with ships transporting British convicts to Australia - despite facts on such matters having been current with historians since 1989 in that part of London.
Prior to 1989 and the discovery with Neil Rhind of The Blackheath Connection, some of my own work had been in error. By 1987 I had produced an article based on material I could find in Australia, which tried to regard the first three fleets of convict ships to Australia as parts of an extended burst of shipping. ("Emptying The Hulks": Duncan Campbell and the First Three Fleets to Australia". This article arose also from an effort to tidy a very messy maritime history.
In 1988 appeared my piece on London-based whalers. One referee for this article said it was "breaking new ground". This was Outlooks for the English South Whale Fishery, 1782-1800, and the "great Botany Bay debate'", published in the journal of maritime history, The Great Circle. This article treated the strategies used by British whalers to open up the Pacific Ocean; political strategies used in London, and navigational and other strategies in the Pacific Ocean. (The article has received disappointingly little response from historians except for maritime historians.)
Naturally, this attempt to be logical about the employment of British shipping in the Pacific before 1800 was exploded by fresh surprise when Rhind and I discovered The Blackheath Connection. I simply had to begin research work on maritime history work all over again.
Perhaps it is reasonable to conclude - that the situation speaks for itself? To 1989, it seemed clear to me if no one else that not all the facts have been lodged, or interpreted, yet, concerning the opening of the Pacific Ocean to British shipping. And in fact, although from 1989 I would find out much more, I remained mystified about some matters regarding convict transportation (to 1829 or so) till about 2015, when Prof. Gary Sturgess shared much of his new research with me. But that perhaps is another story.
There seems to me to be only one answer to these kinds of problems which surface as any researcher tries to explain Macaulay's activities. This is to revise Bateson's book as follows ... The otherwise-valuable appendices to Bateson's book, The Convict Ships, are arranged so as to give emphasis to when a named convict ship arrived at an Australian port, the date the ship departed England or Ireland is given but is downplayed. This amounts to being misleading. The emphasis should be on when the convict ship departed its English or Irish port. Partly because the date that the ship departed, with its cargo of convicts, had long been preceded by a business decision of the shipowner(s) to bother to use a ship as a convict transport in the first place. It is this "first place" -- the date a business decision was made by whomever to use a ship as a contracted convict transport -- which Australian researchers have traditionally refused and still refuse to regard as a valid research opportunity. In fact, the date of any such business decision is yet another linkage point for Anglo-Australian history as far as convict transportation went 1786-1860s, but it is ignored.
Ironically, just because of its format in appendices for listing the date of the departure of convict ships versus the date for arrivals, Bateson's now 57-year-old book, which has been republished but never been usefully updated, obscures as much as it reveals about convict shipping.
Also over Easter 2017, The Weekend Australian newspaper published an article by Luke Slattery marking the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes (now deceased). Slattery panned Hughes book a little, but not enough in my opinion, Slattery for example made nothing of Hughes getting wrong, rather early in the piece, the contractor for the First Fleet (naming him incorrectly as Duncan Campbell the Overseer of the Thames Prison hulks, not William Richards Jnr.) Here we need to ask, if Hughes cannot get this fact right, what other errors might he have made? In short, Hughes' book stands up badly to scholarly interrogations. And I suppose, despite the existence of 43 universities in Australia by now, our national cultural immaturities about convict transportation and many other topics will continue, such is the country we live in. (- Dan Byrnes, revising in 2017.)
Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships, 1787-1868. [Orig. 1959] Sydney, A. H. and A. W. Reed, 1974.
Felix Barker, (with additional material by Denise Silvester-Carr), Greenwich and Blackheath Past. London, Historical Publications, 1993. Revised 1999
George Blake, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, 1760-1966. London, Printed by Lloyd's Register of Shipping, nd? [1960?]
Graham E. Connah, M. Rowland, J. Oppenheimer, Captain Richards' House at Winterbourne: A Study in Historical Archaeology. Armidale, Australia. Dept. Of Prehistory and Archaeology, University Of New England, 1978.
John S. Cumpston, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Sydney, 1788-1825. Canberra, Roebuck, 1963-1964.
Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1993.
Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: A History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787-1868. London, Pan Books/Collins, 1988. (blut more to come)
A. G. E. Jones, Ships employed in the South Seas Trade, 1775-1861 [Parts 1 and 2]: plus A Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, transcripts of Registers of Shipping, 1787-1862 [Part 3] Canberra, Roebuck, 1986.
R. Langdon, (Ed.), American Whalers and Traders in the Pacific: A Guide to Records on Microfilm. Canberra, Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, 1978.
Eris O'Brien, The Foundation of Australia, 1786-1800: A Study in English Criminal Practice and Penal Colonization in the Eighteenth Century. London, Sheed and Ward, 1937. Sydney, (Second edition, Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1950).
Eris O'Brien, 'The Coming of the British to Australia, 1770-1821', pp. 19-31 in Australia, edited by C. Hartley-Grattan. Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1947.
Wilfrid Oldham, Britain's Convicts to the Colonies. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1990. (With a commentary by Dan Byrnes)
Arthur Phillip, The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay, With an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson and Norfolk Island, including the journals of Lts. Shortland, Watts, Ball and Capt. Marshall. Melbourne, Facsimile edition for Georgian House, 1950.
Michael Talbot, (Novel), To The Ends of the Earth. Glasgow, Fontana/Collins, 1988.
Thomas Keneally, A Community of Thieves... (published by early October 2005).
Dan Byrnes, (November, 1994), A Bitter Pill: An assessment of the significance of the meeting between Thomas Jefferson and Duncan Campbell of the British Creditors in London, 23 April, 1786. (Unpublished, updated 1996) Total pages, 79. Total words, 35,037. Available via website
Dan Byrnes, (December, 1993), "From Glasgow to Jamaica to London and Australia: the elusive Duncan Campbell (1726-1803)", Cruachan, No. 62, December, 1993. (The Journal of the Clan Campbell Society of Australia). Short article.
1990 - Dan Byrnes, "The Blackheath Connection: London Local History and the Settlement at New South Wales, 1786-1806", The Push: A Journal of Early Australian Social History, No. 28, 1990., pp. 50-98. ISSN 0155 8633. ISBN 0 646 09384 3. (Updated, 1996) Total words, 31,776. Total pages, 83. Available online).
1990 - Dan Byrnes, "Commentary" to Wilfrid Oldham, Britain's Convicts to the Colonies. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1990. ISBN 0 908120 77 X.
1988 - Dan Byrnes, "Outlooks for the English South Whale Fishery, 1782-1800, and the "great Botany Bay debate'", The Great Circle, Vol. 10, No. 2, October, 1988., pp. 79-102. ISSN 0156-8698. (On the strategies used by British whalers to open up the Pacific Ocean. Written before discovery of The Blackheath Connection in 1989 - updated, 1996). Total words, 19,319. Total pages, 38. Available online.
1987 - Dan Byrnes, ""Emptying The Hulks": Duncan Campbell and the First Three Fleets to Australia", The Push from the Bush: A Bulletin of Social History, April, 1987., pp. 2-23. ISSN 0155 8633. Updated 1996. Total words, 11,595. Total pages, 22.
Dan Byrnes' work in early Australian history has been cited in the following titles:
Maxine Lorraine Darnell, The Chinese Labour Trade to New South Wales. 1783-1853: An Exposition of Motives and Outcomes. University of New England, Armidale, Australia. January 1997. Ph.D thesis.
Anthony Twist, Cambridge (town), England, a forthcoming biography of "the father of Lloyd's of London", John Julius Angerstein.
Alan Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia. A History. Vol. 1. Melbourne. OUP. 1997.
Alan Frost, Botany Bay Mirages: Illusions of Australia's Convict Beginnings. Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1994.
Alan Atkinson, `The Free-born Englishman Transported: Convict Rights as a Measure of Eighteenth Century Empire', Past and Present, a journal of historical studies, No. 144, August, 1994., pp. 88-115. (Note 72).
Charles Campbell, The Intolerable Hulks: British Shipboard Confinement, 1776-1857. Bowie, Maryland, Heritage Books, Inc., 1994.
Michael Flynn, The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790. Sydney, Library of Australian History, 1993.
Kate Thomas, A Biographical Appraisal of John Hunter RN (1737-1821). (Hons Thesis) University of New England, Armidale, NSW, 1992.
Rhys Richards, `The Cruise of the Kingston and the Elligood in 1800 and the Wreck Found on King Island in 1802', The Great Circle, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1991., pp. 35-53. (Note 28).
Alan Atkinson, `State and Empire and Convict Transportation, 1718-1812', pp. 25ff in Carl Bridge, (Ed.), New Perspectives in Australian History. London, Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, 1990.
Roger J. B. Knight, `The First Fleet, Its State and Preparation, 1786-1787', pp. 121-136, in John Hardy and Alan Frost, Studies from Terra Australis to Australia. Canberra, Occasional Paper No. 6, Australian Academy of the Humanities, 1988. (Dr Knight is a senior staff member of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London).
2005 - Tom Keneally, The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Sydney Experiment. Sydney, Random House, Australia, 2005.
And since 2000, on many websites in the English-speaking world, mostly citations drawn from this website, The Blackheath Connection.
Read now another major article by Dan Byrnes on London-based British whalers entering the Pacific from 1786... "Outlooks for the South Whale Fishery", already print-published in an academic journal.
Follows an update per e-mail during February 2006 from Chris Pickard, a researcher of the Isle of Man.
As indicated in chapters of The Blackheath Connection (see Chapter 36), George Moore made several adventures in convict transportation which can only be described as disastrous. Why Moore made such efforts has remained mysterious.
Chris Pickard by about 1981 was researching for a paper, Eighteenth Century Manx Merchantmen and Privateers, (Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society, Proc. IX, Vol. 4.) He stumbled on aspects of Moore's career, but did not include them in his published article. At that time, Pickard was unaware of Moore's ill-fated involvements in convict transportation as now found in The Blackheath Connection. In due course, Pickard did write something on Moore, an article, George Moore HM Consul of Salonica, published by Manx Life.
Pickard e-mails, “What interested me [about George Moore's letters] the letters was that they were of a personal nature rather than business records which normally are the only material left to us. It's a sad tale of a gullible young man involving deception by his two brothers and others. Speaking of his brother Philip in America, George wrote, “His plans have been so contradictory, wild and interchangeable that the retrospect of them fills me with astonishment at my own credulity and infatuation.”
These are deeply humble remarks, more so when the man introspecting here had been in charge of convict destinies...
Follows a short impression of George Moore's life, drawn from e-mail from Pickard and the posting of A. W. Moore's Manx Families at: http://www.isle-of-man.com/
The Moore family discussed here is probably descended from the Moore family of Corswell, County Wigton, Scotland. (Information below is largely from Manx Families by A. W. Moore on www.isle-of-man.com/)
Two brothers, probably from Scotland, parents unknown, were Philip (1650-1828), a Norway merchant in London, and Captain Charles. Philip's wife is so far unknown, but he had children, Isabel, and Philip Jnr, who became a merchant of Douglas, Isle of Man. Isabel also went to Isle of Man, and married William Gell, Vicar of Conchan there. Philip Jnr. (1674-1746) first married Dorothy Robinson in 1702, to find she died that same year. In 1707 Philip Jnr. married Margaret Bradshaw. (d 1715). Margaret had children including: James (1711-1763 a Reverend of Dublin; John, who had a son Peregrine who emigrated to America; Philip III who had a daughter who married Deemster of the Isle of Man, Thomas Moore; and a merchant of Isle of Man, Sir George Moore, (1709-1787).
This George Moore (later Sir) in 1733 married Catherine Callan of Dublin. They had children including: Margaret, born 1735, who married John Quayle of Castleton, Isle of Man; Philip (born 1738), who emigrated to North American colonies; Catherine who married James Wilks; Sarah who married William Callow of Castleton, Isle of Man; Callan (no issue). Plus George (born 1744 died 1787-1797) who became the failed convict contractor, and Consul at Salonica/Salonika. Evidently, George as a younger brother had become swept up in the ill-considered schemes of his older brother Philip, living in America, when he became a convict contractor – and a disastrously failed one.
George (born 1744) in 1778 married Isabella Bacon (1758/1760, d1792) from the Isle of Man, daughter of John Joseph Bacon (1827-1809) and Jane Johnston (1737-1781), daughter of William Johnston (died 1760). John Joseph Bacon was a merchant of Douglas, Isle of Man, son of Joseph Bacon and Elizabeth Christian (who was a daughter of James Christian and Jane Barton).
George and Isabella Bacon had children: Catherine who married Thomas Moore; George of Trieste, (1779-1871) who had children by Mary Froding, whom he married in 1804. George (died 1871) married a Turkish woman as his second wife. This Turkish wife had a son George (of Trieste) who became a British consul at Trieste and at Richmond, USA. Mary Froding had children George, Mary, and Isabella, who married the London banker, Charles Grote.
(By 2006, most of the names mentioned above can be found via searches on Google. -Ed)
Meantime, much remains unknown about George's older brother in America, Philip (born 1738).
Follows a short update-article from Chris Pickard of February 2006 as e-mail to Dan Byrnes.
George Moore Jnr, Born 1744
Father, Sir George Moore (1809-1787): Moore Senior made a fortune by supplying his customers mainly on the Scottish coast with brandy, rum, wines and teas. The Isle of Man was a warehouse for these goods, as the Isle of Man's duties were very low compared to English duties, and a large profit could be made by shipping these products to Britain. What George Moore Snr. did was not illegal ( in fact Moore was always very conscious of the legality of his trading). Moore made sure that the goods leaving the Island for the mainland were the responsibility of his customers, and that it was they, not he, who broke the law by smuggling the goods to the mainland.
Moore's network of agents in the West Indies, New England and Europe numbered as many as 260. George Moore Snr.'s two principle trading ships were the Peggy (150 tons) and the Lilley (120 tons), both snows and built-to-order in Boston. The Lilley's building contract has survived and details the building specification down to the last nail.
(George Moore Snr.'s trade has been very comprehensively covered by Frances Wilkins in her book, George Moore and his Friends: Letters from a Manx Merchant, 1775-1760. Published by Wyre Forest Press, 1994.)
George Moore Jnr in 1757 was at school in Douglas, Isle of Man. In 1758 he was sent to Mr. James Burgh's academy at Nevington Green, Middlesex. His studies included: reading, Latin, French and dancing.
George Moore Jnr married Isabella Bacon 19th September 1778 at Braddan Church, Isle of Man. His father-in-law, John Joseph Bacon, was probably the greatest ship-owner on the Isle of Man. He owned or part-owned more than 26 vessels in his lifetime, some of them being Liverpool slavers. He owned a herring-curing house and exported red herrings to the West Indies and the Mediterranean. His second wife whom he married in 1782 was Ann Cosnahan, daughter of the Reverend J. Cosnahan of Ballakilley, later to be called Seafield.
FROM LETTERS FROM GEORGE MOORE JNR. TO HIS FATHER
George Moore Jnr. set up on his own account at Crutched Friars London. With his father's and father-in-law's contacts he should have been relatively successful, but this was not be. The following account is taken from his letters to his father.
He started well but the American War reduced his Mediterranean and Levant trade. He began to speculate in privateering and had a sixteenth share in the highly successful London privateer, the Enterprise, formerly the Aquilon, a frigate of 600 tons built at the King's Yard. He was able to obtain the position of Captain of Marines for his wife's brother on this vessel.
He was at this time on good terms with his younger brother, James, and allocated James half his share in Enterprise. In 1781, George was surprised to hear that James had disappeared from Glasgow, suspected of an insurance fraud and also leaving many debts. George however at this time was more interested in obtaining the release of his father-in-law's vessel, the cutter Will, which had been seized for attempting to land two tons of claret into Billingsgate docks. Despite his usual optimism, he failed and the vessel was condemned. By this time he heard that James's situation had become serious, as James had been involved in the underwriting of ships and had attempted to reinsure a lost vessel in London; so to escape imprisonment, James had fled the country.
James reappeared in France early 1782 in partnership with a Mr Williams, whose company was based at Nantes and L'Orient. Much to George Moore Jnr.'s consternation, James pressed him to form a partnership. George Moore Jnr. refused. James would not be put off and threatened to form a rival company in London with their older brother, Philip. It was this and the end of the American War that enticed George Moore Jnr. into forming a partnership with James and James's new associate, Colonel White. The fast-talking White arrived in London in March 1783 with glowing references from James.
George Jnr. wrote to his father, "I am at a loss to conjecture James' motive for the recommending a partnership with this gentleman at the same time he appears to be desirous to form a connection with my brother and me."
George Moore Jnr. was unaware at this time that White and James had no assets. White hinted of a large house in West London and many important American friends, the trap was set and the partnership was formed.
Their first venture was to be to Boston. George Moore Jnr. purchased a vessel (and named it Bell after his wife), and had the cargo at his sole expense. White left with the Bell to sell the cargo in the most advantageous way. George Moore Jnr. discovered after his departure that White had left many personal debts and had been over-extravagant with fitting out Bell - and George Jnr. had been foolish enough to give White a free hand.
George Moore Jnr's repeated appeals for White and James's share of the venture were completely ignored. He realised now that he had been conned and feared that White might incur debts against him in America, so George Jnr. wrote to his elder brother Philip, who was based in America, to get him to dissolve the partnership.
George Jnr.'s financial situation was now desperate, and further, he was expecting a cargo of tobacco on which the duty had to be paid. With great reluctance he asked his father for a loan of £4,000. His father agreed and arranged for a loan with a Mr Carrick in London. Sadly the letter to Carrick went astray and the loan was not forthcoming.
Desperate, George Jnr. went further into the American trade, and the road to bankruptcy, by contracting a vessel, the Swift, for the transportation of convicts to America. He wrote to his father, "Nothing but necessity could have induced me to traffic in the freedom of my fellow creatures. It is a business I abhor, but it has been profitable to others; it may be so to me."
September brought bad news from George's brother, Philip, still in America, as 48 of the 143 convicts on Swift had escaped. The government withheld payment as a result. Philip also wrote that there were four large capital houses in America wishing to do business with George Moore and Co., to the amount of £200,000 per year. Despite the incredible figure, George Jnr. believed every word, and he wrote to their father "... if I do embark at all I find it must be a very deep game".
Unknown to George Jnr., his brother Philip had been in debt from before the end of the American War, and had been forced to sell his estate, Moore Hall. Worse still, Philip had stolen £6,000 from George Moore Jnr., the proceeds from the cargo of the brig United States, a vessel jointly owned by George Moore Jnr. and his father-in-law.
In November, Philip wrote to George Jnr. informing him that the partnership with White had been dissolved, and he went on to add that White had sold the goods with excellent management, and had obtained better terms than for any other cargoes sold there. George Moore Jnr was elated, his doubts over White seemed dispelled and he looked forward to a very prosperous trade with the American houses.
His elation was short-lived, and he soon found out the truth; the situation was worse than he could have possibly expected. Williams in Nantes had failed and White, as he was a partner of Williams, had to pay Williams' debts. These he paid with the proceeds from Bell's cargo.
George Moore continued to contract [convict-transporting] vessels to government in order to improve his cash flow. Even in this he was ill-fated, as 67 convicts escaped from the vessel, causing great alarm in the surrounding country. He struggled on until the following June, and by that time he realised he couldn't go on much longer. He wrote, "Oh my Dear Father, how I dread the event how horrid the change from ease and affluence to want. I will cherish hope to the last, but even that may forsake me ..."'
Another blow had come earlier in June, when Isabella had a child, Jane. For health reasons she had been taken to the Island to live with George Moore Snr. On June 26th 1784 the banks no longer honoured George Jnr.'s cheques. He was now convinced that Williams of Nantes was the principle architect of his downfall, and he informed his father: "This, my Dear Father, is a gloomy prospect. Williams has acted a most deceitful part! By him I am deceived and by my brother(James) deserted in short it has been a deep laid plan of villainy."
His brother Philip was not to escape blame. George wrote, "His [Philip's] plans and schemes have been so contradictory, wild and interchangeable that the retrospect of them fills me with astonishment at my own credulity and infatuation."
By October, George Jnr.'s creditors were pushing for a commission of bankruptcy and in November his American assets were seized. He managed to continue until June 1795, when his furniture was seized. It would have been simple enough for him to have returned home to the Isle of Man, but so deep was his shame at his failure, this was a prospect that he could not face.
The consulate of Salonica had become vacant due to the retirement of the previous incumbent. George Jnr. had some experience of the Turkish trade and decided to apply for the post. The consulate was the gift of the Turkish company and there was no salary for it. It was normal for the consul to give gifts to the Barklow of the port and other officials, and in consideration of this the English consul had the preference of trade with England and Italy. Also, the consul was well paid to cover the goods of Turkish subjects. The disadvantages were that the European community was small and wars and plague were endemic. However, the previous consul had survived and returned to London a wealthy man.
After eight months of waiting, George Moore Jnr. was finally made consul on 31 March, 1786. He wrote soberly to his father, "Appointed this morning to the Consul of Salonica. I shall sensibly regret the fatal necessity that compels me to separate so distantly from my father, friends and country, in order to search for a livelihood among Greeks, Turks and Jews and take my wife and children to a place where the whole society consists of one Englishman a French family and two Italians."
George Jnr.'s problem now was that he required capital to buy goods for trade and gifts, also for one year's living expenses. He turned to his father-in-law for help. Bacon declined, pleading that he was financially embarrassed himself. It must have been with a heavy heart that George Moore Snr. arranged the needed money just in time, as George Jnr. was on the point of having to relinquish the post because of lack of capital.
George Jnr. and his family left for Salonica in the middle of August 1786. Ill-fortune doggedly followed their steps. Their daughter Isabella fell from the ship's deck into the steerage and died following a dreadful head injury. Unusually, Isabella wrote to her father-in-law: "This day week we were deprived of our innocent babe, our dear, dear little Bell after having suffered a most painful illness due to her having had a dreadful fall on board ship. You may easily judge of what Mr Moore's feelings and mine have been on this most trying occasion; she was her father's darling favourite." Details of how a Greek doctor had performed surgery [trepanning] by drilling a hole in the child's skull were also given. Isabella was greatly troubled by the isolation of Salonica, but George Jnr. was too busy finding warehouses for his goods to be troubled in this fashion.
The political situation was very unstable. The Pasha of Scutari had taken up arms against the Grand Seigneur and his army was only a few days' march from Salonica. Also, war with Russia was imminent. By early April 1787, George Jnr. wrote that Greeks and Jews were being shot in the streets, but he was confident that he and his family could escape danger.
It is here the letters stop, and we are presumably to fear the worst, but we do know from the Moore family bible that two children were born in Salonica, so we can assume George Jnr. was still alive about December 1788. The rest is unknown.
A tombstone found in a Mansfield churchyard, Isle of Man, confirms the worst fears for this family's safety. " Isabella Moore relict of George Moore, H.M. Consul at Salonica eldest daughter of John Joseph Bacon, Isle of Man died in 1792 in her 34th year"
(Note: All of the above including the convict shipping details have been taken entirely from George Moore Jnr's letters to his father and no other sources have been referred to - Chris Pickard, Isle of Man.)
On Thomas Shelton
Much could be said about how difficult it can be to find fresh information on the population of people associated with “the founding of European Australia”. For example, the contracts for transportation as signed by shipowners or their agents were made out (between 1786-1829) by only one man, Thomas Shelton, Clerk of Arraign at the Old Baily, and also a Coroner of London.
There arises an obscure reference to Shelton, or, perhaps to his brother William, if Thomas had a brother (?). In either case, a Clerk of Arraign at the Old Bailey of the 1790s or later was one William Shelton, perhaps “the most accomplished criminal lawyer of his day”, who gave much useful career advice to barrister William Garrow.
Ref: J. M. Beattie, 'Scale of Justice: Defence Counsel and the English Criminal Trail in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries', Law and History Review, 1001, pp. 221-267, here, p. 237, a citation from an article, 'Mr. Baron Garrow', The Law Review, Vol. 1, 1944, p. 318. Item per Paul Burns, Armidale, Australia, 3 October 2005
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