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Check now: an article on THE FIRST CAMPBELLS ON JAMAICA, with genealogies given, plus historical insight, at: jamaica.htm

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Dan Byrnes ...

About this website:
The Phantom First Fleet:
Questions of slavery:
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Links to sites on related topics:
Investors in C19th Australia - 1:
Investors in C19th Australia - 2:
Investors in C19th Australia - 3:
Investors in C19th Australia - 4:
A Bitter Pill - American debtors to British Merchants and Thomas Jefferson
Emptying the Hulks:
The Blackheath Connection - original article:
The London whalers from 1786 - an original article:
Bibliography - Part One:
Bibliography - Part Two:

The Blackheath Connection

Errors and Oversights - Comments

During the writing of The Blackheath Connection, and later, certain errors and/or oversights in history-writing seemed significant. This writing had stretched from 1977-to-1999 (even to 2021), some 22 years, (or more), following which the manuscript was uploaded to the Internet after Easter 2000. Unfortunately, some evident problems with the integrity of Pacific Ocean history have gotten worse by 2021 and so some corrections have seemed wise. (See below. The matter is complicated, more so as time has gone by and a new generation of historians now reigns.)

It seems by 2021 that one can choose freely amongst theories of Maritime History. In brief, one can choose between an English view (drawn from "the British Empire") versus The Spanish Empire. A third option presents itself too - a view drawn from USA history - which is pro neither the British nor the Spanish empires - and is inaccurate about the Pacific Ocean to that extent. It seems to work like this ... Those who believe in the "Captn Cook version" of maritime history might well feel that he is to "blame" for the loss (to Australia's indigenous people) of Australian sovereignty over Australia, but they might also feel quite pro-British and so feel that they can easily overlook much of other Pacific Ocean history - the Philippine, the Spanish, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russian, not to speak of the Hawaiian or the Polynesian. Added to which, it is alleged, quite innacurately, that Cook is somehow behind the British taking of Australasia sovereignty - of Australia and New Zealand. The truth is rather more complex.

So just what is "the Capn Cook version" of Maritime History? It is a view of Pacific Ocean History - that also quite overlooks the ownership of the convict ships sent to Australia - that is quite biassed to the British Empire - though paradoxically it also ignores the interests of contemporary East India Co. figures in the Pacific Ocean ... biassed because James Cook was an Englishman, a low-level British naval officer, and someone who was promoting an English view of the sciences and curiosities of the day.

This set of views, drawn (for Australians) largely from Cook's first voyage, entirely overlooks the life experiences of the New Guineans, the Filipinos, the Vietnamese, the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and Russians. It is a partial, inherently racialistic view of the Pacific peoples, as is perhaps made clearer by the TV documentary screened in Australia in early 2021 - The Pacific: in the wake of Cook with Sam Neill. Neill with a gentle scepticism points out that Cook actually had nothing to do with British convicts being sent to eastern Australia (the sections of the island continent that were "discovered" by Cook) - the suggestion actually came 15 years later from his fellow sailor, Sir Joseph Banks (see below).

The "Capn Cook version" of Maritime History has as its locus an England which produces a changeless Cook who meets different peoples of the Pacific each with their different personalities. But not all the peoples of the Pacific by any means. While with the latter, Neill is concerned with the different peoples of the Pacific, each of whom are different and who meet a different Captain Cook. Today, one can easily ask: which view is more true? Is it just that one view is based in "the British Empire: while the other view, (Sam Neill’s) is based in a Pacific-with Polynesians-Hawaiians and others - but albeit a Pacific Ocean minus the Indonesians, the Vietnamese, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Filipinos and Spanish and the white Americans (fur hunters/traders) plus certain Canadian-Indian tribes. And the Russians. And it is clear that to adopt a view that is partisan neither to the British or the Spanish empires, (or the later US Empire) but a view that is independent, is to adopt a view that can better cope with the phenomena to be noticed with the Pacific Ocean. For what has happened with the Australian (British Imperial) use of the "Capn Cook version" of the Maritime History is that the maritme history has been sadly misunderstood.

Many such errors/oversights had to do with shipping information - with the maritime history - and questions arose, and still arise, as to whether this was meaningful. (It is. See above.) Here is an overview of how and why this has seemed important ... By 2020 I even feel that Cumpston's Register of Shipping has become misleading, as Cumpston had no awareness of the deeps of the back stories of the convict contractors. That is, Cumpston was ignorant of just who the convict contractors were, from the time of the First Fleet. Australian researchers of the convict contractors simply have to start again! I worry about this, now and for the future, since today, Australian Aborigines, the inheritors of the situation of Australia's indigenous people, who were shunted aside because Britain wanted/needed another destination for tranportable convicts, still believe that Captain Cook was to blame for their difficulties, not Lord Sydney, Evan Nepean or Gov. Phillip, some 16-18 years after Cook.

True, Captain Cook, rather late in his Australian days, had in 1770 claimed a theoretical British monarchical sovereignty over Australia; but there the matter rested. Nothing was done by Britain till 1785, when Beauchamp's Committee, charged with looking afresh into convict transportation, happened to ask questions about Botany Bay, eastern Australia, that were answered by Sir Joseph Banks. Australian historians either white or black have seldom looked specifically into Beauchamp's Committe - and this webpage is certainly not going to pre-empt their views arrived at when they do look newly at Beauchamp's Committee. Suffice to say, there is a great deal to be learned.
(Other relevant citations are given below in this file.) See John S. Cumpston, Shipping Arrivals and Departures, Sydney, 1788-1825. Canberra, Roebuck, 1963-1964. (1977 reprint.)

(1) 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.

(2) 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 with none-other than Fletcher Christian, peaceably. Lynx was an ex-naval vessel.

Australians as a cultural habit tend to overlook questions such as: who owned the convict ships? So much so that one might well ask: why this ignorance, what purpose does it serve? For what Australian historians (and historians from other countries as well) have missed is the large back story of the convict contractors as individuals with a career, aspirations, a wife, a life, and with associates.
This "back story" re convict transportation (for roughly 1786-1865) becomes a front story for an indeterminate period, depending perhaps on which data sets an individual historian might be working on.

These careers, wives, associates in different ways may or may not have become part of the integrity of the history of the Pacific Ocean, but historians have consigned them to the dustbins of history ... Wrongly, I believe. In any case, it needs to be explicated, how one thinks this situation arose.

But even so, is this the whole story? Not by any means. (And for some details here, see below.) It seems to have been the Sydney historian George Mackaness who deserves most of the blame for ths situation.

Re Bligh, 1931 (nil re Bligh-Duncan Campbell (1726-1803)), on Phillip 1937 (nil re the Bligh-DC connection), Mackaness wrote on Bligh in a monograph of 1943 and on Bligh-Bond in 1949. Again, nil re Bligh-DC. Mackaness had the Duncan Campbell Letterbooks in his possession and when he died, the Campbell Letterbooks went with much of his estate to Sydney's famed Mitchell Library. Crucially, certain information re Macaulay was lodged as an Appendix in Phillip's Voyage (the first book over published about Britain's new convict colony at NSW) but were overlooked by historians. Now, Ellis, on Governor Macquarie got things wrong 1947-1952 re John Tasker and CC&K - see below. Bateson in 1959 consolidated other errors re CC&K and regarding Civic London (Curtis (1752-1829) and Macaulay (1750-1803). (On "Civic London, and aldermen Curtis and Macualay and the First Fleet, see The Blackheath Connection, Chs 33ff.

Bateson (in 1959) did try to fix things, but didn't re-research Curtis and Macaulay thoroughly enough. Oppenheimer (J. Oppenheimer, 'Captain William Richards', Chapter 5 in G. Connah, M. Rowland, J. Oppenheimer, Captain Richards' House at Winterbourne: A Study in Historical Archaeology. Armidale, Australia. Dept. Of Prehistory & Archaeology, University Of New England. 1978., was wrong re a son of the First Fleet contractor William Richards (1753-1828) and Byrnes was wrong to follow her, which he did till apprised of the facts after 2010 by Prof. Gary Sturgess (Byrnes' errors here on the Internet have been or will be corrected in due course).

Hughes in 1988 with The Fatal Shore was decidedly wrong in saying that Duncan Campbell was the contractor for the First Fleet when William Richards was.

Now, all these names - Campbell, Bligh, Curtis, Macaulay, Richards, had family histories, and when they are collected those family histories fail to support what Australasian historians say was the story of convicts being transported into the Pacific Ocean, to Sydney, New Holland, New South Wales, or where-ever. The proof of this assertion only makes matters worse, when it is asked: what explorations did the early convict ships make in the Pacific Ocean, what did they name and "discover". Or rather, "what did they reveal"? (The distinction between "discovery": and "revelation" comes from David Abulafia, Cambridge Prof. of Mediterraniean History. (David Abulafia, The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans. London, Allen Lane/Penguin, 2019. See also David Abulafia, The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean. Penguin, 2011.) Extra data re the convict contractors 1786-1800 has come from Prof. Gary Sturgess. See Gary L. Sturgess, 'Guillaume Richard/William Richards: A Huguenot Back Story to Australia's First Fleet', Huguenot Times: The Newsletter of the Huguenot Society of Australia, No. 32, Spring (November), 2018., pp. 1-4.

Gary L. Sturgess and Ken Cozens, 'Managing a Global Enterprise in the Eighteenth Century: Anthony Calvert of The Crescent, London, 1777-1808', The Mariner's Mirror, 99:2, May 2013., pp. 171-195.

Gary L. Sturgess, ‘Arthur Phillip: Commodore of the Fleet’, Sydney Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2015, pp. 20-38. A paper that argues that Nepean, not Lord Sydney, had the main ideas re convicts and “Botany Bay”. See also: Alan Atkinson, 'Beating the Bounds with Lord Sydney, Evan Nepean and others', Australian Historical Studies, Vol. 25, No. 99, October 1992., pp. 217-219. Alan Atkinson, ’The Free-Born Englishman Transported: Convict Rights as a Measure of Eighteenth Century Empire’', Past and Present, No. 144, August 1994., pp. 88-115. Alan Atkinson, ‘State and Empire and Convict Transportation, 1718-1812’, pp. 31ff 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.

Gary L. Sturgess, Sara Rahman and George Argyrous, ‘Convict Transportation to New South Wales, 1787-1848: Mortality Rates Reconsidered’, Australian Economic History Review, Vol. 58, No. 1, March 2018., pp. 62-86.

See in late 2021, a new book Merchant Networks: North America, Britain, India and Colonial Australasia; 1760-1860., by Dan Byrnes with Ken Cozens. Publisher unknown as at 11-6-2021. See also, Kenneth James Cozens, Politics, Patronage and Profit: A Case Study of Three 18th Century London Merchants. MA thesis 2005, Greenwich Maritime Institute (GMI)/Greenwich University. See also, Kenneth James Cozens, Eighteenth Century London Merchants and the Slave Trade: “Networks of Opportunity?” Paper presented at Greenwich Maritime Institute Conference June 2008. Fifth IMEHA International Congress of Maritime History.

Now ...

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, and an Adelaidean, 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. Initially, he was going to look into the Spanish in the Pacific, but (and it is a great pity he never got back to that topic) he changed his mind and worked instead on Britain's convict transportation to Australia.

This was a worthy, and an ideal aim. Oldham, who was not published however till 1990, nevertheless missed a few key pieces of information concerning ship ownerships between 1785 and 1795 - in fact, he made some mistakes which were not later corrected by Charles Bateson (writing from 1959. (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 too 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, and World War II represented a great interruption to historical research in Australia - until Charles Bateson in 1959 published his first edition of The Convict Ships. But ironically, and today, still, and inexplicably, Bateson also got aldermen Macaulay and Curtis wrong, as Oldham had done 26 years before, and this went unnoticed by most historians. Or is this a case of historians' failing to identify a case of political censorship.

Bateson's book of course, Australianized as it is (becauwse it emphasizes when convictrs wee landed at an Austrlian port by a givenb ship, not when thgart ships left England and ), though it should be re-Angliciuzed, 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? (On Civic London, see The Blackheath Connection online, Ch. 33ff.)

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).

Duncan Campbell (1726-1803)

Thames hulks overseer,
Duncan Campbell (1726-1803)

This was incorrect and remains one of the most gruesome errors of fact ever written about the First Fleet. Yet Hughes' book is rarely if ever held to account for this error. The First Fleet was contracted for by William Richards Jnr., lately researched newly since 2006 by Associate Professor Gary Sturgess of Sydney. Earlier, I had thought myself, quite incorrectly, that William Richards had also contributed some descendants to NSW history, descendants who allegedly ended up living not far from my home town, Tamworth, New South Wales, at Walcha.

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.

Charles Bateson, The Convict Ships

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.


Some errors and oversights in earlier treatments have been addressed
in the following recent books/articles...

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.


On convict contractor George Moore (born 1744)

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:

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

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.


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

The rivalry between Britain and the USA for dominance in the Pacific Ocean 1780-1830, revisited amid new history wars

Review by Dan Byrnes of Rhys Richards, Bold Captains: Trans-Pacific Exploration and Trade, 1780-1830, Vols. 1 and II. Wellington, New Zealand, Paremata Press, 2017. A total of 589 pages.

By 3 November 2017 a New Zealand maritime historian, Rhys Richards, had emailed me as follows: "This is NOT Spam but rather an invitation to buy directly from me my latest book. The details are on the attached flier. As you will see there, it is a great book covering the voyages of the traders who followed after the Pacific explorations of Captain Cook. There are two volumes. The book is cheap but the postage beyond New Zealand is horrendous. (The first 25 copies sold in Australia will have a lesser postage fee if bought through Jean- Lois Boglio Maritime books , PO Box 424, Cygnet, Tasmania 7112. (E-mail address deleted) I really do recommend that you buy this for yourself, or as a Christmas present for some-one else. Merry Christmas".

And what happened is that I bought the books from Boglios Maritime Books and I've ended up feeling appalled. This is a very badly-organised book. So, well, sorry, Mr Richards, but my 2018 frowns on your latest book, which despite its at-times wonderful citations, seems an indication of the dire mess that Pacific maritime history has gotten itself into by 2017, and how it's going to extricate itself, I'm too old to be able to wisely suggest, probably, but I'm quite sure that it's going to take an enormous amount of work, co-ordinated well between different countries, to rescue us from the mess that Mr Richards and his correspondents have formulated here.

This book cannot be recommended for anyone, including not even for specialists in Pacific maritime history, and here, sad but true, I have a two provisos. (1) This book is a serious indication that in future, no researcher on Pacific Ocean maritime history should dare to ignore what is said on The Internet about Pacific Ocean explorations; all sorts of names, issues and topics. (2) This book is an indication to specialists about how NOT, by 2017, to do a book or two on Pacific maritime history - as follows ...

What is hardest of all to understand is the limited use that Richards has made of the Internet, along with the risk that anyone who actually believes his material, without extensively cross-checking it, might mistakenly add to mistakes that Richards makes and place erroneous material on websites, so compounding any existing problems. I cannot for the life of me imagine why Richards has so ignored the use of Internet resources, more so as the popular, or commercial internet has been available now since 1996, for almost 22 years now. Actually, Richards does cite on Internet resources, just enough to enable us to believe that he knows it actually exists - but this evidently is as far as Richards gets. And these matters show with the farrago of information that Richards offers us about Curtis and Co. of London, to wit., about Sir William Curtis (1752-1829) [on whom, see below]. Quite simply, none of this is good enough by 2017-2018. When are the facts going to come to light?

One might have thought that Edouard Stackpole had sorted things out acceptably years ago and I must confess, I thought that Stackpole had achieved this quite well, and a stunning achievement with it. (See Eduoard A. Stackpole, Whales and Destiny, The Rivalry between America, France, and Britain for Control of the Southern Whale Fishery, 1785-1825. University of Massachusetts Press, 1972.)

Not so, according to Richards, who has recently come out with Bold Captains, and evidently, Stackpole missed out on some of these bold captains, who according to Richards are stragglers, lone ships captains who were stragglers in the Pacific, a very large ocean. But to me, Richards is wrong about some of them, at least. How on earth, or, rather, in the Pacific, did this happen? (And by my reading, Richards does not cite Stackpole, though it is impossible to believe that Richards has not read Stackpole's book, this seems just another problem.)

... It's a long story. Richards for years by now has been a respected New Zealand maritime historian, and I have warmly cited his work myself at times. But I remain worried by whom has Richards been listening to. For example, many American shipping managers after 1783 were engaged in the north-west American seal fur trade to Canton, China. This trade died out by about 1820, as Richards does not stress, and so from a Pacific oceanic point of view, it was a trade that lasted only 1783-1820 if it lasted this long. Is such a short-lived trade actually worth the making of major mistakes? Richards evidently thinks it is.

Richards for example is a fan of Oskar Spate, one of the acknowledged doyens of Pacific studies and European-Pacific maritime history ... though Spate admittedly is not especially good on convict transportation to Australia, since convict transportation extended in Western Australia to 1868, by the Indian Ocean, despite the fact that convict transportation from 1786-1788 was the ostensible reason that Britain decided to move into the Pacific in the first place, firstly to "Botany Bay, New South Wales".

Richards' latest book seems to take for granted, not ignore, some but not all of the facts arising once Britain had decided to settle convicts at what became known as Sydney, and this is where some of the trouble starts - he overlooks the First Fleet and later events as maritime history adventures - and adventures, if we like, in Pacific exploration.
See Oskar H. K. Spate, The Spanish Lake. Vol. 1 of The Pacific Since Magellan. Canberra, Australian National University Press. 1979-1988. [Vol. 2, Monopolists and Freebooters; Vol. 3, Paradise Found and Lost]
See also, Oskar Spate, ‘The European Apprehension of the Pacific’, pp. xiii-xiv, in Alan Frost, 'The Colonisation of New South Wales', pp. 85-93 in John Hardy and Alan Frost, (Eds.), European Voyaging Towards Australia. Canberra, Australian Academy of the Humanities, Occasional Paper No. 9, 1990.

Does this get all too detailed? Probably, yes. Richards says, Vol, 1, p. 38, quite emphatically, that: "So it cannot be stressed enough that the exploration of the Pacific and the exploitation of the Pacific's natural resources, followed no set plan." It is this remark about "no set plan" which is also a problem, not the least of which is the way historians over decades have toyed with the idea that the British Empire after the 1780s "grew like topsy". Or not, as the case might be.

I would contend that some at least of the plans, whether they came off or not is a separate question, were set, by Sir William Curtis and others in London 1786-1792 (who collectively represented what I call, "Civic London"), and that Richards quite overlooks those who tried to set such plans ... Various remarks from Rhys Richards seem at least partly incorrect and I will, possibly with over-charity, pass some of them off as a dismissal of the place that Staple Theory might or should have in explaining Australasian developments fro the later 1780s to 1850 or so, the time of the American and Australian goldrushes.

Staple Theory is, by Australasian standards, a piece of Canadian economic history, an analytical tool which has been imported thoughtlessly to Australasia by university academics who fail to realise that "Canada" had (by European standards) an up-and-running economy before, during and after the American Revolution, though Australia and New Zealand didn't; and that to 2018, Staple Theory, I think, explains nothing that actually happened in Australasia in any useful way. (One is far better off assuming that much of Australia's early economic development was underwritten by the British budget for managing convicts in Australia, as well as closely reading Historical Records of NSW and Historical Records of Australia.) (New Zealand histories I'd be more cautious in talking about.) Staple Theorists, routinely, fail to tell us who in London might have or did buy such products, and one wonders why they persist in doing this ... ??

Rhys Richards it should be said, ends his discussion about 1830 because by 1830, the chartmakers had pretty much done their work, mapped the Pacific, much of the maritime pioneering had been accomplished, an early developmental era had ended and different eras had begun.

To sink yet again into this strangely misleading book, Richards feels that foreign traders (25 of them) in the largely empty Pacific worked in episodic ways, and that the ships captains he is concerned with were "stragglers", without strong backing by more landlubbing merchants. In short, of the 25 ships captains that Richards treats here, some eleven were not stragglers at all, meaning that first up, some 44 per cent of his sample fail to meet his "straggler" tests.

Some of the trade-captains Richards treats were "colourful but barely-known". But some captains he names as stragglers, ie, without backers, did indeed have backers, and one wonders why Richards has made such little effort to deepen our understandings of the maritime history; this is why his ignoring of Internet offerings is so worrying.

Captains who were not stragglers include: Henry Barber. William Brown captain of Butterworth. Rev. John Howel. Captain George Lamport. Ebenezer Dorr and Sons of Boston. Whaler Abraham Bristow. Whaler Captain Robert Rhodes. The American, Captain Caleb Brintnall. The American Capt Cornelius Sowle of Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Ebenezer Hill Corey. The American Captain James J. Coffin. Thus, I would claim that eleven of of Richards' 25 "stragglers", or 44 per cent of them, were non-stragglers, and sometimes, their backers were indeed powerful men whose careers need advertising, not suppressing. As follows ...

Henry Barber, who had a reputation as brutal and dishonest; at one time (1802) he had a ship Unicorn of London, used for seal-fur-getting work on the north-west coast of America, but I cannot ascertain who owned this ship. It is possible that in the 1790s, Barber had a connection to the Rhode Island merchants, Brown and Ives re the ship Arthur. An Internet genforum item says Barber was born at Shepherdshaugh as owned by descendants of George Kinloch of Kair, a miller of Perth and factor to Lord Halterton. Then there is Barber's connection to William Kinloch, who was earlier a merchant in India, who on his death in 1812 left the well-known Kinloch Bequest (there was court case about it in 1818) for disabled Scots Soldiers which was managed by the Scottish Corporation of London. Kinloch it seems was a bachelor? But Kinloch seems to have backed Barber on the ship Myrtle, as William Kinloch and Co. of Fort William, Calcutta, where Kinloch seems to have been an assistant for the British-India firm Fairlie and Gilmore. So Kinloch maybe in backing Barber is a blind for Fairlie and Gilmore? In which case, Fairlie and Gilmore needs more research, to establish whether or not they did this.

Captain William Brown was backed by the powerful London merchant, (Sir) William Curtis (1752-1829), whose baronetcy proceeds to the present day.

And on Curtis, we find there is on the Net a wikipedia page on him, and a webpage on Curtis is available also from Why hasn't Richards looked up these websites, used them, or discussed, critiqued them, directed our attention to or from them? William Brown and George Lamport meanwhile are both mentioned on p. 46 of a book online on the Hawaiian Kingdom 1779-1854 by Ralph Simpson Kauykendall.

Rev. John Howel was a China trader, presumably well able to care for his own affairs. Captain George Lamport was backed by, arguably, Sir William Curtis of London.

Ebenezer Dorr (1739-1809) and Sons of Boston were a large and successful operation which were a notable part of the post-1783 renewal of US shipping after the destructions and disorganisations of the American revolutionary period, and they do not need Richards ill-made "straggler" theory; rather, they need their own placement to be made in the annals of American maritime and other enterprise, which the Americans have so far done rather badly.

The Dorrs were far too large and influential in both the USA and the wider Pacific to be called "stragglers"; the Dorr genealogy is available on the Internet at, which gives more of their genealogy, particularly on the women involved, than Richard's book does.

Whaler Abraham Bristow was more or less mentored by the London whalers of Blackheath, Enderby, and their whaler ships captain Thomas Melville, and to call Bristow a straggler is to detach him from his actual career.

Whaler Captain Robert Rhodes was backed by the London whaler Daniel Bennett who rose higher as a British whaler after the death in 1797 of Samuel Enderby Snr. By late April 1801 Rhodes was employed by the whalers Hurry, less well-known than Bennett. (The Hurrys bankrupted by 1806, but are briefly mentioned by Richards Vol. 2, page 339.) Bristow it seems by 1811 or later was employed by the Mellishs of London, who were merchants reasonably well-known on webpages.

Captain Caleb Brintnall of New Haven, Connecticut, USA was backed by six New York merchants (albeit unnamed), so was he a straggler? He is mentioned on some websites concerned with Pacific history and has become associated with some narratives of US Christian missionary work in the Pacific. I do not know if Brinthall's New York merchant backers were religiose in outlook or not.

Captain Cornelius Sowle of Providence, Rhode Island, USA was at one time backed by the powerful, wealthy and much-written-about New York merchant (real estate figure) and fur trader, John Jacob Astor.

Ebenezer Hill Corey was at one time backed by Brown and Ives of Rhode Island, the possible backers of Captain Henry Barber noted above. Brown and Ives also had ships calling into Sydney before 1812 (before the War of 1812-1815 between USA and Britain.)

The American Captain James James Coffin seems from Richards' own text to have been an American (Nantucketeer) backed by the Enderbys of London, whose career as "chieftains" of British non-Greenland or non-Arctic, mostly South Seas whaling is otherwise well known 1770-1830. I would claim that eleven of of Richards' 25 "stragglers", or 44 per cent of them, were non-stragglers, and sometimes, their backers were indeed powerful men whose careers need advertising and discussing, not obscuring.

But for the specialist, it should also be said there is much that is highly valuable in Richards"s two volumes, Bold Captains, particularly regarding formerly-obscure citations - as long as one knows where to look and what to avoid. But I think the novice reader on this sort of Pacific history would end up with a very distorted view if they believed Richards books.

The sub-bibliographies provided for each chapter are handy, some of the research is quite good or quite novel, but would be of greatest use to specialists wanting to delve deeper. Richards however, as he has explored explorers of the Pacific, seems either to have simply gotten lost in the Pacific, or forgotten to go back to the maritime hubs of Britain, British-India, the new nation, (USA), to check and recheck on the careers of the merchant-backers of ships captains active in the Pacific to 1830, to re-check on the environments formed by these hubs, and on the merchants who populated them.

Richards does at times include Australian historians as well - but the problem with Australian researchers is that they also have not yet been able to fully explain either Pacific exploration or convict transportation. Australian historians since the 1930s have had only a tenuous graps on who-was-who in the world of British convict transportation.

Richards' earliest problem seems to be that he has misconceived the main backer of Capt Brown's Butterworth's, alderman and ship's biscuit maker, William Curtis - where we would find that as Curtis was a London Lord Mayor and then MP, given a baronetcy, and was a personal friend of George IV, so that it would appear that Richards has inadvertantly distorted London history?

And so, we find that rather than enjoying the triumphalism of Richard's two books, we need to go back, start again, and get straight on Curtis' activities in the London of the 1780s and 1790s.

But why Richards as a writer on Pacific history hasn't read relevant websites and used them wisely is the 64 million dollar question for today, and I for one have no answer for it. And of course, there were more of the actual stragglers that Richards didn't catch up on the Pacific, who were they? There were indeed, stories Richards hasn't exhumed and retold, that he could have. - Dan Byrnes, Armidale, NSW, Australia, January 2018-June 2021.

Queries: Who owned the sealer Rob Roy (from Boston, Capt. Isaac Percival) v2, p. 560. 1828-1830. See an online offering, Rhys Richards, The Earliest Foreign Visitors and their massive depopulation of Rapa-iti from 1824 to 1830. Le Journal de la Societie des Oceanistsres, Online 118/Aimee 2004-1, Varia. (About 75 per cent of the island population died after "discovery" by mariners.).

Notes on a mistake in Chaitkin's book, Treason in America

This story (written 6-1-2018) on a mistake by Anton Chaitkin is meant for netsurfing by readers. It appears, so says Dan Byrnes, of this website, that Chaitkin has made a least one mistake in his book, Treason in America.

Firstly, the Wikipedia page on Anton Chaitkin begins - “Anton ‘Tony’ Chaitkin (born 1943) is an author, historian, and political activist with the LaRouche movement. [of the USA] He serves as History Editor for Executive Intelligence Review, [a magazine issued by the LaRouche propaganda machine]. Chaitkin's father was Jacob Chaitkin, who was the legal counsel and strategist for the boycott against Nazi Germany carried on by the American Jewish Congress in the 1930s. His late sister, Marianna Wertz, and his brother-in-law, William F. Wertz Jr., have also been active in the LaRouche movement.”

Chaitkin once wrote a book, Treason in America: From Aaron Burr to Averel Harriman. (Executive Intelligence Review, 1999), which Chaitkin himself has described as a 600-page “history of the struggle between American rationalists and a tory-British-racist-Imperialist faction of the US Government” of which Chaitkin disapproves. The rhetoric and the abysmally low level of historical analysis used by Chaitkin notwithstanding, it seems that apart from their two wars, the American War of Independence (1775-1783), followed by the the War of 1812 (1812-1815), Britain and the USA are not allowed to become friends or to have interests in common, else Chaitkin disapproves.

Treason in America remains in entirety on the Net, a book of fulmination against Chaitkin’s kind of treason, against pro-Britishness, and naturally Chaitkin trades on the infamous reputation of Benedict Arnold (on which American traitor, of Revolutionary times, go Google).

Arnold (according to webpages various) one night spent time at Belmont House, (also known as Treason House), now demolished in the 1920s, but once the home of a dupe of Arnold named Joshua Hett Smith in West Haverstraw, New York City. (Haverstraw is otherwise famed for brickmaking.)

And it seems that not regarding the Smiths, but the Livingstons, that Chaitkin makes an error in genealogy. Here, American General Benedict Arnold, who had earlier been treasonously corresponding with the British General Henry Clinton. secretly met, on 21 September 1780, British Major John Andre (on whom go Google) and plotted to surrender the fort at West Point to the British for a sum of $20,009, which would have helped the British better control the Hudson River area.

Belmont House has been built on land inherited from William Smith (died 1769), a judge in New York for the colonial British by one of the sons of William Smith, Thomas, (died 1795), a Doctor of Laws who once taught politician Aaron Burr (who in 1804 killed politician Alexander Hamilton in a duel) and also Robert Troup. (I have remained unable to name Thomas’ wife. Belmont House was demolished in 1921.)

Temporarily at the time of Arnold’s treason, Belmont House was resided-in by Thomas’ brother, Joshua Hett Smith (1749-1813), who had spied for both sides during the Revolution. Joshua Hett Smith ended leaving America and going to England where by 1808 he wrote a book regarded as unreliable, An Authentic Narrative of the Causes which led to the death of Major Andre. And even here is a genealogical problem, as Joshua is usually given as Joshua Hett Smith and his mother is usually given as Mary Het (one T) and so where Joshua’s two Ts for Hett come from, remains a mystery. (Mary Het (1770) had a French Huguenot background and was first wife of William Smith died 1769; she was the daughter of Rene Het and Blanche DuBois.) For the record, the Net reveals from a variety of sources that a more accurate genealogy than what is given by Chaitkin can be developed.

Chaitkin in Treason in America has a confident-looking graph outlining the connections of the Smith family – which is correct enough, although Chaitkin’s conclusions may not be as correct. Chaitkin gives information on William Smith Jnr (1728-1793) (a former Chief Justice for British New York and a later Chief Justice for Quebec in Canada) and his brothers Thomas and Joshua Hett Smith, where Thomas is the onetime law teacher of Aaron Burr. All three men were brothers and sons of William Smith Snr died 1869 and husband of Mary Het.

Meanwhile William Smith Jnr married Janet/Jennet Livingstone (1730-1819), a daughter of Jacobus James Livingstone (born 1701) and Maria Kiersted - and a sister (so Chaitkin’s diagram proclaims) of Governor of (American) New Jersey, William Livingstone (1723-1790), both children of ….

but William did NOT have a sister Janet/Jennet who married William Smith Snr. Janet was daughter of Jacobus James above. William Livingston (1723-1790), once Governor of New Jersey, was married to Susannah French.

William was son of Philip Livingston (1686-1749) and Catherine van Brugh This Susannah French and Livingston had among their children a daughter Catherine (1751-1813) who once married Matthew Ridley (1749-1849), who during the American Revolution was a minor American diplomat, formerly agent in Maryland of Duncan Campbell (1726-1803) of London, pre-1775 the largest exporter in England of convict labour to Virginia and Maryland, and since 1775 the Overseer of the Thames River prison hulks. Susannah also had another daughter, Sarah van Brugh Livingston, who married the US politician and the often-excoriated author (as commercially giving too much away to the British) of the Jay Treaty of 1794, John Jay (1745-1829).

It would appear that Chaitkin, who affects to despise the Livingstons of New York as they were often pro-British, is wrong here about the Livingstons, and has avoided noting the careers as well of Matthew Ridley and Duncan Campbell. These sorts of errors can be the price of admiring ideology over the veracity of facts. -Ed.

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